Lawyer says receipt shows woman in viral video paid for bike at center of dispute with Black man

Justin Marino, Sarah Comrie's lawyer, maintains that the entire claim his client was trying to steal the Citi Bike is demonstrably false as she had already paid for it.

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A viral social media video showed a white woman allegedly attempting to steal a Black man’s Citi Bike in New York City, but her attorney claims receipts prove otherwise.

According to CBS News, Justin Marino, Sarah Jane Comrie’s attorney, asserted that his client had been unfairly labeled as a “Karen,” given that the claims levied against her are demonstrably false, CBS reported.

Comrie, a physician’s assistant who had just wrapped up her shift, and an unidentified Black man claimed to have paid for the bike docked outside Bellevue Hospital.

New York hospital bike -- Sarah Comrie
Justin Marino, an attorney for Sarah Comrie (pictured), a woman accused of trying to steal a Black man’s Citi Bike in Manhattan, claims his client actually paid for the bike at the center of the dispute. (Photo: Screenshot/ New York)

In the video, Comrie, donning navy blue medical scrubs with “NYC Health + Hospitals” branding, repeatedly screams for help as the man tells her the bike isn’t hers.

Six months pregnant, Comrie tells him, “You’re hurting my fetus.”

“I’m not touching you,” the man responds. “You’re putting your stomach on my hand.”

Someone who appears to be Comrie’s coworker asks the Black man why he won’t reset the bike, a suggestion he declines while reiterating he rented it under his name.

Marino said Comrie paid for the bike first, reportedly producing receipts to back his claim. “Do you think any pregnant woman in their right mind would jump on another young man’s bike and just, like, scoot away while they are six months pregnant?” he asked, according to CBS.

However, questions linger regarding the receipts’ authenticity, which Citi Bike has not verified.

TheGrio spoke with a Los Angeles-based journalist covering the story who received copies of two purported receipts from Marino, one of which had the bike’s origin or pick-up location and its eventual destination redacted. (The redacted receipt displays a different bike number from the one seen in the viral video, and indicates that a bike was rented for about 25 minutes.) The other receipt shows a bike that was marked as “free unlock” and returned after one minute. This receipt’s bike number is the same as the one shown in the video.

Yahoo! News reported that one of Comrie’s receipts shows payment for a Citi Bike via the app on the evening of May 12. The bicycle was locked to its dock one minute later with no charge recorded.

A second receipt allegedly shows payment for another Citi Bike from the same docking station a minute after the first one relocked. It also shows a 25-minute trip that Marino claims was his client’s ride home after the incident.

The young man was adamant he’d rented the bike, even showing his receipt to Comrie’s perceived co-worker. According to the columnist who spoke with theGrio, asked why Comrie never claimed to have purchased the bike on the video, Marino reportedly called it a “stressful situation,” saying it may not have occurred to his client to claim ownership and provide documentation.

Marino said his client — whom NYC Health + Hospitals placed on leave pending an investigation — intends to file a lawsuit “against people and media organizations who defamed her,” adding that he hopes the public hospital system allows her to return to work.

He described his client as a “healthcare hero” who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic but claimed that due to the clip making its rounds across social media, people had painted her out to be a “racist villain,” according to Yahoo.

“It’s appalling,” Marino said, CBS reported, “that, you know, like, race, you know, is somehow, like, imputed as that being the issue here.”

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