UPDATED: 7:15 a.m. ET, Dec. 29 —
The Manhattan district attorney’s office confirmed it was investigating an alleged assault that was apparently inspired by a white woman’s racism against a Black father and son in a New York City hotel the day after Christmas.
The unidentified white woman accused the 14-year-old son of stealing her iPhone despite lacking any proof of the claims. When his father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold Jr., stepped in and began filming the encounter, the white woman went Karening and allegedly assaulted them both.
“Our office is thoroughly investigating this incident,” DA spokesman Danny Frost told the New York Post on Monday.
The Manhattan district attorney was being called on to charge a white woman who allegedly assaulted a famous jazz musician after she racially profiled his teenage son in an incident recorded on video last week in New York City. The video showed the unidentified white woman getting her “Karen” on by falsely accusing the 14-year-old of stealing her iPhone before she “attacked” his father, Keyon Harrold Jr., in the lobby of a hotel.
The unfortunate episode went down at the upscale Arlo SoHo hotel on Saturday as Harrold and his son came downstairs for breakfast. That’s when they say the woman approached them and accused Harrold’s son of stealing from her even though she had no proof to back up her allegation. Harrold began recording on his own phone.
Her language suggested that she was holding the child against his will before she allegedly grabbed and tackled the young boy. She also allegedly scratched Harrold. The hotel’s manager seemingly defended the white woman and took her side in the matter even though she wasn’t even a guest there. Her phone was later found in an Uber.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said on Monday that he and Harrold’s parents were urging Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. to charge the woman. Crump tweeted that they wanted the white woman charged with assault and battery.
“As this year of racial awareness is drawing to a close, 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. Compounding the injustice, the hotel manager defaulted to calling on 14-year-old Keyon to prove his innocence, documenting that we have two justice systems in America and that Black people are treated as guilty until proven innocent,” Crump said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “We strongly urge Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. to bring assault and battery charges against this woman to send the message that hateful, racially motivated behavior is unacceptable. This is what it will take to drive change. We also call for a civil rights investigation into the Arlo Hotel for its implicit bias in its treatment of Keyon.”
The incident was completely on-brand for 2020, which has given rise to the phenomenon known as Karening — white women exerting their privileges against Black and brown people even and especially if they’re in the wrong.
Crump has set up an online petition on his website and is asking people to sign their names to automatically generate an email to Vance urging him to charge the woman.
There is precedence for a Karen being charged criminally for her actions in New York City. A white woman named Amy Cooper was charged for filing a false police report against a Black man she falsely claimed was threatening her earlier this year. Vance eventually announced his office was investigating the incident before officially charging Cooper with Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree, a misdemeanor.
That incident set off a firestorm of attention to similar incidents across the country, though not all of them have resulted in criminal charges.