Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez ensured residents this weekend that his office is investigating the “disturbing” incident involving a woman who falsely accused a 9-year-old Black child of grabbing her butt inside a local deli.
“We are looking into this disturbing incident involving Teresa Klein,” he tweeted Saturday.
The shocking encounter also caught the attention of Brooklyn borough president, Eric Adams, who has called on the NYPD to investigate whether Klein broke the law.
“There is no excuse for Ms. Klein’s behavior at the Sahara Deli in Flatbush on Wednesday,” Adams said in a statement. “We need to be clear: there are consequences for outlandish and threatening public behavior that seeks to intimidate innocent bystanders, especially children.”
Klein is just the latest example of a white person dialing the cops on Black folks for dubious reasons, an action that has since earned the 53-year-old the nickname “Cornerstore Caroline.”
Longtime Flatbush resident James LittleJohn, 37, who coined the moniker, captured the incident on his phone as a commotion erupted outside the Sahara Deli Market Wednesday. His video, uploaded to Facebook, has been viewed over 4 million times since last week.
“No, I want the cops here right now,” Klein is heard saying in the video, presumably on the phone with police. “That’s right, the son grabbed my ass!”
The young boy and another child suddenly burst into tears, as bystanders stop in front of the store to record the chaotic scene. Klein proceeds to tell police the boy’s mother began screaming at her and was recording on her cell phone. At one point, she even smiles and waves at the camera.
“So insincere,” LittleJohn, who’s friend’s with the boy’s mother, told the New York Post. “She just did not care.”
Klein has since apologized to the child after surveillance video from the bodega showed the child turning to leave the store when his large book bag brushed the woman’s backside as she leaned over the front counter.
After viewing playback of the footage amid hecklers on Friday, Klein turned to a television reporter at the scene and issued a public apology.
“Young man,” Klein began, “I don’t know your name but I’m sorry.”
She denied harboring any racist sentiment toward the young boy but was still considering charges against the mother, who she said acted “aggressively” in the situation. She also accused the woman of impersonating an officer and flashing a badge, even though witness video showed Klein as the one who claimed she was a police officer.
Since the incident, angry locals have bombarded the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office to prosecute Klein for wrongly accusing the child.
“She impersonated a police officer and tried to get that child killed,” one critic tweeted. Either you’re going to prosecute her or you’re going to protect her.”
“She needs to face 15-20 yrs for falsely accusing & endangering a welfare of a child,” wrote another. “Impersonating a police officer & 911 calls. Plus their needs to be a GoFundMe page or the city to help the boy & family with lifelong counseling and healing.
One man likened the situation to that of lynched Black teen Emmett Till, writing, ” … Just remember Till was also a kid accused by a white woman of sexual assault. Except Emmett was brutally murdered. You need to DO SOMETHING about this! This lady picked on a child and this is wrong!!!”