Musician Says Teen Son Was Racially Profiled, Assaulted

Woman falsely claimed he had stolen iPhone
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2020 5:55 PM CST

Prominent jazz musician Keyon Harrold says he is "shellshocked" after a confrontation in a New York City hotel Saturday with a woman who falsely accused his 14-year-old son of stealing her iPhone. In a video shared on Instagram, the woman shouts at the Black teenager and demands that he return the phone. Harrold says he was scratched when the woman tackled his son and tried to look in his pockets. "I typically try to keep things positive, but nothing about this video is positive," Harrold says, adding that the manager took the woman's side during the confrontation and tried to force his son to show her his phone. "I wonder what would happen if it were different, if it were a Black woman and there was a white 14-year-old," Harrold tells the New York Times. The woman had actually left her phone in an Uber, and it was later returned by the driver.

The woman—who, unlike Harrold, was not a guest at the Arlo hotel in SoHo—has not been identified. The boy's mother, renowned saxophonist Katty Rodriguez, said on Instagram that hotel security let the woman leave while Harrold was waiting for police to arrive, Billboard reports. "She assaulted my son several times which is not seen on this video because my sons father dropped the phone to protect our son," Rodriguez wrote. After Harrold's video went viral, the hotel apologized and admitted "more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute." "We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel," the hotel said. Police and the Manhattan district attorney's office are investigating the incident. (More racial profiling stories.)

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