Black teen tackled by woman claiming he stole her phone in viral video
Jazz musician Kenyon Harrold shared a now-viral video over the weekend of a physical altercation with a woman who said that his 14-year-old son had stolen her cellphone.
The minute-long video shows a woman accusing the boy of holding her cellphone when he was holding his own phone in the lobby of a New York City hotel.
The woman can be seen repeatedly urging a hotel manager to grab the phone. As the father and son walk away in the video, the woman can be heard yelling “I’m not letting him walk away with my phone” before grabbing Harrold.
Harrold said in the caption of the video that the woman, whom he did not name, scratched him and tackled and grabbed his son.
“Now think about the trauma that my son now has to carry, only coming downstairs to have box day brunch with his dad,” Harrold wrote in the caption of the video, which has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.
Harrold also lashed out at the manager of the hotel over the incident, accusing him of “insisting and attempting to use his managerial authority to force my son to show his phone to this random lady. He actually empowered her!!! He didn’t even consider the fact that we were actually the guests.”
The woman’s phone was reportedly later returned to the hotel by an Uber driver “minutes” after the incident, according to Harrold. He said the hotel told him she had been a guest at the hotel earlier in the week.
Harrold and his son are Black. The video drew comparisons to a May incident in which a white woman called the police in New York City and falsely accused a Black birdwatcher of threatening her in a dispute over her unleashed dog.
The hotel and police, who have launched an investigation into the incident, have declined to release the name of the woman, The New York Times reported.
Harrold told the Times that he has worried what would have happened if he was not there to protect his child.
“I’ve seen people be hurt or even killed for less,” he said.
He said in a Sunday Instagram post that “We cannot thank our tribe enough for the outpouring of love, support and reposts to find out who the woman in the video is that assaulted our son.”
Arlo Hotels, which owns the Soho hotel where the incident took place, apologized in a Sunday statement and said that “We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo Hotel.”