Keyon Harrold: Jazz trumpeter says son assaulted after false theft accusation

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An investigation has been launched after a 14-year-old black teenager was allegedly assaulted by a white woman who falsely accused him of stealing her phone in a hotel lobby in New York.

Grammy award-winning trumpeter Keyon Harrold posted a video online showing the woman, who has not been identified, repeatedly shouting at him and his son.

Mr Harrold said the incident had “traumatised” his son.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “This is racism. Plain and simple.”

In a tweet, he added: “It would be horrific at any age, but it’s especially offensive that it happened to a child.”

The musician and his son, Keyon Harrold Jr, were staying at the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan when the confrontation took place.

“I hate I have to post this!!!” he wrote on Instagram on Saturday. “The lady in this video assaulted my 14-year-old son and me as we came down from our room in the Arlo Soho to get breakfast.”

In the video, which has been viewed more than two million times, a woman wearing a face mask can be seen standing behind a hotel employee and lunging at Mr Harrold and his son after accusing the teenager of stealing her iPhone.

Mr Harrold accused the woman of scratching him and tackling his son after he stopped filming. The phone was later returned by an Uber driver, according to the musician.

Prosecutors in Manhattan are now investigating the incident.

In an update posted to Mr Harrold’s Instagram account, the family said they had decided to go public with the footage because of the hotel’s response to the woman’s behaviour.

In a statement, Arlo Hotels said it was “deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice and assault against an innocent guest”, adding that it apologised to Mr Harrold and his son.

Mr Harrold’s experience has been compared to other incidents this year in which black people have faced false accusations.

In May, a white woman called 911 on a black man after he asked her to put her dog on a lead in New York’s Central Park.

The exchange was filmed and Ms Cooper, who lost her job and dog after the incident, now faces a criminal charge of filing a false report.

BBC

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