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‘That’s Mine!’: Woman Reportedly Attacks Black 14-Year-Old Who She Falsely Accused of Stealing iPhone, Gets Hotel Manager to Help Her

A Grammy-winning jazz musician has received an apology from a New York hotel after a woman accosted his teenage son over the weekend, wrongfully accusing the 14-year-old of theft.

Keyon Harrold posted the video to Instagram on Sunday of his family’s Saturday interaction with the woman at the Arlo Soho hotel in New York City.

“I am furious!!! We see this crap happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home!!!” Harrold wrote on the post.

Keyon Harrold shared about his weekend experience during which his son was accused of stealing a woman’s iPhone. Keyon Harrold/ Instagram

He said he and his son were leaving their hotel room when a woman who claimed she “lost” her iPhone accused the teen of stealing it.

In the minute-long video, the agitated woman continuously asserted that Keyon Jr.’s phone was actually her own.

“Take the case off, that’s mine, literally, get it back,” she said, tapping the hotel manager’s shoulder.

“Are you kidding me?” Harrold said. “Get a life, you better go use ‘Find My iPhone,’ go do that.”

The hotel manager intervened, asking the teen to produce the phone, saying he was trying to “settle the situation,” and “figure out what’s going on.”

When Harrold and his son turned to walk away, the woman followed them, and yelled, “No! I’m not letting them walk away with my phone!”

Harrold wrote on Instagram that the encounter went on for four or five minutes, and that he had to protect his son from the woman who scratched, tackled, and grabbed him.

He also said the woman tackled his son to try to check his pockets.

The woman’s phone was returned to her by an Uber driver later in the day, after it was dropped off at the hotel for her to pick up. Harrold said he believes his son may have been racially profiled.

He added that the woman was not a hotel guest at the time, and had checked out several days before the incident occurred, although the manager still advocated for her.

“He actually empowered her!” Harrold wrote. “The management didn’t even question her as to why she would even think he had the phone,” he told The New York Times.

The hotel apologized in a statement, saying, “We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel.”

Harrold said in an update posted to Instagram that a key factor that led the family to share the experience publicly was that a security guard allowed the woman to leave the scene before police arrived. He said the family prayerfully considered how sharing the experience would impact their son beforehand.

Keyon Harrold shared about his weekend experience during which his son was accused of stealing a woman’s iPhone. Keyon Harrold/ Instagram

The jazz musician filed a police report and the NYPD is investigating the matter. Harrold has asked the public not to attempt to seek the woman out or pursue justice against her after another woman was falsely identified as the woman in the video and criticized.

“She definitely owes my son an apology, for sure,” he said Sunday. “I don’t expect that, and if it were to happen, cool. If it doesn’t happen, it’s so much bigger than that. It’s a narrative of what shouldn’t happen in daily life in America, that’s what it is.”

By Monday, Dec. 28, Harrold was adopting a less conciliatory posture about the incident in the interest of seeking justice, and he had enlisted a prominent legal advocate to pursue his cause — famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.

Crump, now representing Harrold’s family, called for the Manhattan District Attorney bring assault and battery charges against the still-unidentified woman.

“This is what it will take to drive change,” Crump said in a statement. “It’s deeply troubling that incidents like this one, in which a Black child is viewed as and treated like a criminal, continue to happen.”

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