Reverend Al Sharpton and the family of a Black teen accosted by a woman who accused him of stealing her phone will be going to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office Wednesday, calling the prosecutors to take firm action in what they say is a case of racial profiling.
Keyon Harrold Jr. was approached by a woman on Saturday morning after as he and his father, a well-known musician, were heading to brunch as guests at the Arlo Hotel in SoHo, when a woman who left her phone in an Uber allegedly began questioning the 14-year-old and his father.
Video posted to Instagram showed the woman and hotel staff attempting to have the father and son duo hand over the missing property. According to Sharpton, the woman is now claiming she was the victim of assault.
NYPD has not released her name.
“If she is saying that she was assaulted, put her in the grand jury and let her face perjury charges. Let her say under oath what she is saying in interviews,” Sharpton said.
Harrold, a trumpet player from Fergusson, Missouri, told reporters at a press conference in City Hall Park that the Arlo staff as well as NYPD attempted to downplay the situation.
“This has nothing to do with the person on the video, because she’s on a video everybody sees how not to act, how not to react and how not to to prejudge somebody and you don’t even know them, you know, my son was probably proven guilty before this Chad could have asked,” Harrold said. “He could have taken the time to simply ask, but no he wanted to demand that my son, give up his property that I bought him as a father. As a father, this is what we do as a father, this is not even hero stuff. This is stuff that we do. You know, this is what any loving father would do any loving father would protect their child at all costs.”
While the family expressed gratitude that they had the status in society to bring attention to the matter, they have meanwhile enlisted the help of civil rights attorney Ben Crump who reflected on the double standard placed on Black people who are wrongfully accused of crimes.
“If the roles had been reversed to a Black man accusing a white teenager of having taken a cell phone, we know that he would have been arrested for assault and battery. So we’re looking to NYPD and we’re looking to the Manhattan District Attorney to say are you going to join in the racial profiling or are you going to do your job and deliver equal justice?” Crump said.
According to spokesman for the Manhattan DA, the office is “thoroughly investigating” what happened between the Harrold family and the unidentified woman.
“We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo Hotel,” Arlo management said in a Facebook post on Sunday.