The attorney for the African American jazz musician whose son was tackled by the ‘SoHo Karen’ in a hotel lobby because she wrongly thought he stole her cell phone is demanding that Manhattan prosecutors charge her with assault.
Benjamin Crump, the civil rights attorney who has represented among others the family of George Floyd, called on Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr to charge the woman shown in the viral video posted by Keyon Harrold.
‘She falsely accused this young man in front of his father and assaulted and battered him,’ Crump told ABC News on Monday.
‘We are demanding that the Manhattan district attorney, Cy Vance Jr, charge this “Karen” for assaulting and battering both Keyon and his 14-year-old son.’
Benjamin Crump (left), the civil rights attorney, is demanding that Manhattan prosecutors bring assault and battery charges against the woman (right) filmed lunging and tackling a 14-year-old African American teen whom she falsely accused of stealing her cell phone
The boy is the son of Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold (above), who filmed the incident on his cell phone and posted it on social media over the weekend
Earlier on Monday, it was learned that the DA’s office and the New York Police Department were investigating the incident.
A spokesman for the DA told DailyMail.com: ‘Our office is thoroughly investigating this incident’. They declined to elaborate further.
DailyMail.com has contacted NYPD for additional clarification.
Hotel guests Keyon Harrold and his 14-year-old son were approached in the lobby of the boutique Arlo Hotel in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan on Saturday afternoon.
Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Harrold filmed the incident and then shared it to Instagram.
The footage shows the father and son being accosted by an unidentified young woman who claimed that Harrold’s teen boy had her cell phone.
In the viral video, ‘Karen’ (left) falsely accuses Harrold’s son of stealing her iPhone. The woman demanded that the manager of the Arlo SoHo hotel (seen right) take the phone from the boy so she could make sure it wasn’t hers
Earlier on Monday, Crump took to Twitter and called for her to be criminally charged
The video shows one of the managers at the hotel asking Harrold’s son to see the phone, angering his father who accused the manager of taking the woman’s side.
When Harrold refused the woman’s demand to show her the phone, she lunged toward his son, prompting Harrold to protect him.
The woman’s phone was later returned to her by an Uber driver, proving that her claims it was stolen by the teen were false.
An outraged Crump told ABC News: ‘If the roles were reversed and Keyon tackled a teenage white child over a false accusation about a cell phone, there is no question he would be arrested.
‘So we can’t have this double standard in America.’
Crump accused the hotel of ‘implicit bias’ and hinted that a lawsuit could be forthcoming.
‘The fact that the hotel manager either condoned the racism at best or was participating in the racial profiling when he asked Keyon’s son for his phone so he can make sure it was his, that it was legitimate,’ the attorney said.
Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Harrold filmed the incident and shared it
‘We are asking for a civil rights investigation into Arlo Hotels for their implicit bias that was demonstrated by their hotel management and their security.’
Harrold said that more than 48 hours after the incident, he is ‘still trying to make sense of it all.’
‘I was so thrown off that the hotel representative was basically siding with her to get my son to give her his phone and I just wouldn’t stand for it,’ the Grammy Award-winning musician said.
‘I’m still in shock,’ he said.
‘I’m still trying to believe that it happened.
‘It happened so quickly that it’s just unbelievable that someone would literally have the audacity to assume and wrongfully accuse my son, who’s 14 years old – we’ve never met this person before – that he somehow got access and stole her phone.’
Harrold said his son was so traumatized by the incident that he asked: ‘Why me, dad? Why would somebody choose me and think that I would steal anything from him?’
The video was posted on social media by Keyon Harrold, a professional jazz musician who has played with the likes of Common, Beyonce, Rihanna, Jay-Z, and Snoop Dogg. Harrold alleges that the woman in the video tackled his son while trying to get the phone. He is seen above performing in Texas in 2019
At one point in the video, the woman is seen lunging at the boy. Harrold says that she tackled his son and tried to search through his pockets
Cassandra Medina denied on her social media page that she is the woman in the video. Medina posted this image of her at the Harold’s restaurant in the Arlo SoHo last week
‘He’s shaken up in a major way and, unfortunately, I’ve tried to protect him, his mom has tried [to protect him],’ Harrold said.
‘We’ve tried to keep him from different scenarios.’
Harrold added: ‘Nobody should be falsely suggested that they stole anything, definitely not you as a 14-year-old black boy.
‘You should exist anywhere you want to exist and be free to do that in this country.’
The boy’s mom Kat told TMZ Monday: ‘He asked my “why did she think that she could accuse me?” And when you have to sit down with your son and say “well son, it might be because you are black and it might be because she felt threatened and you didn’t fit into this nice hotel”.
‘No one should ever have to deal with that. No one. No parent, but definitely no 14-year-old child.’
An Instagrammer last seen in a photograph on Instagram at the hotel six days ago has since posted a denial that she is the ‘Karen’ after being bombarded with abuse on social media accusing her of being the woman in the video.
Cassandra Medina, a registered nurse from Staten Island, posted a message on her Instagram Sunday saying: ‘I’ve been tagged all morning in this video and this is not me.It’s not ok to be falsely accused on social media and I wouldn’t want that happening to anyone.’
She then addressed Harrold in her post, saying: ‘I hope you find truely (sic) who this person is because what she did is disgusting and this hotel should be held accountable.’
‘The lady in this video assaulted my 14-year-old son and me as we came down from our room in the @arlohotels Arlo Soho to get breakfast,’ Harrold wrote on his Instagram page
At one point in the video, the manager (right) is seen asking Harrold’s son to show him the phone
Throughout the viral clip, the woman is seen and heard demanding that the manager take the boy’s phone. The woman’s claims that the boy stole the phone were proven false after an Uber driver later dropped off her actual phone at the hotel
Her account, which has 1,792 followers, shows pictures of her at the Arlo in SoHo and NoMad.
The one-minute-long clip starts showing the woman and the hotel manager in the lobby with Harrold recording on his cell phone.
‘This is my phone,’ Harrold’s son, who is not seen in the footage, is heard telling the woman and the manager.
‘You don’t have to explain nothing to her,’ Harrold tells his son.
The woman then points to the phone and tells the manager that the case is the same one that she has.
‘That’s mine,’ she tells the manager. She then tells the manager: ‘Get it back.’
Harrold responds to the woman, saying: ‘Are you kidding me? You feel like there’s only one iPhone made in the world?’
When the woman asks Harrold to see the phone, he replies: ‘No, get a life.’
Harrold then tells the woman that she should use the Find My app, which helps locate missing Apple devices.
The woman then tells Harrold that the Find My app can only be accessed through the phone.
The video then shows the manager approach Harrold’s son asking him to see the phone.
‘No, you can’t,’ Harrold tells the manager.
‘I’m the manager of the hotel,’ the manager tells Harrold, who replies: ‘I don’t care!’
During the exchange, the woman continues to encourage the manager to retrieve what she believes is her iPhone.
Harrold tries to plead his case, saying it wasn’t plausible that his son would have someone else’s phone since he just got to the lobby from the elevator.
‘Didn’t you see me just come downstairs out of the f***ing elevator?’ Harrold tells the manager.
The manager protests, saying: ‘I’m trying to help.’
The woman is seen being helped up onto her feet by a hotel employee after attempting to grab the phone from Harrold’s son
‘No, but you’re not helping,’ Harrold replies.
‘I am,’ the manager insists.
Harrold tells the manager that he was being ‘disrespectful.’
‘I’m trying to settle the situation,’ the manager says.
Harrold replies: ‘My son has nothing to do with her.’
The woman once again repeats her demand to see the phone, saying: ‘No, he’s not leaving. Show me the proof.’
Harrold refuses and begins to walk away from the lobby toward what appear to be the elevators.
‘You better get on,’ Harrold tells the woman.
The woman, who appears to be highly distressed, walks toward Harrold and his son, saying: ‘No, I’m not letting him walk away with my phone.’
While the video is not clear, the woman appears to lunge toward Harrold and his son.
In the next frame, she is seen on the ground as the manager helps her back to her feet.
‘No, please get my phone back,’ the woman begs the manager.
The video clip ends with the woman once again approaching Harrold in an attempt to get the phone.
Harrold told The New York Times that the woman tackled his son and tried to look into his pockets before being physically separated from him.
Instagrammer Cassandra Medina, a nurse from Staten Island, has denied that she is the woman in the video
Medina is seen above at the Arlo NoMad hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The above image was posted in late August
Medina posted a message on her Instagram page which read: ‘That person in the video is not me’
‘I’ve been tagged all morning in this video and this is not me,’ she wrote on her Instagram account on Sunday. ‘It’s not ok to be falsely accused on social media and I wouldn’t want that happening to anyone.
‘I hate I have to post this!!!’ Harrold wrote on his Instagram feed.
‘I am furious!!! We see this cr** happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home!!!
‘I typically try to keep things positive, but nothing about this video is positive.
‘The lady in this video assaulted my 14-year-old son and me as we came down from our room in the @arlohotels Arlo Soho to get breakfast.
‘This person quote on quote “lost” her iPhone, and apparently, my son magically acquired it, which [is] merely ridiculous.
‘This incident went on for five more minutes, me protecting my son from this lunatic. She scratched me; she Tackled and grabbed him. He is a child!!!
‘Now watch it again. This lady is not even a guest at the hotel. She checked out of the hotel on the 23rd of December; today is the 26th.
‘Now watch as the manager advocates for the lady who is not even a hotel guest, 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 we were actually the guests!
‘Now think about the trauma that my son now has to carry, only coming downstairs to have box day brunch with his dad.
‘Then… her phone was magically returned by an Uber driver a few minutes after this incident. No apology from her after this traumatic situation to my son, not me.
‘No apologies from the establishment.
‘This s*** happens so often. It needs to stop!!! If anyone recognizes this person, please tag or DM.’
Harrold told the Times that the incident left him ‘shellshocked.’
‘I wonder what would happen if it were different, if it were a black woman and there was a white 14-year-old,’ he said.
The Arlo SoHo hotel in New York City is seen in the above file photo
Arlo Hotels released a statement on Sunday which read: ‘We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo Hotel’
Arlo Hotels released a statement on Sunday which read: ‘We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo Hotel.
‘In investigating the incident further, we’ve learned that the manager on duty promptly called the police regarding the woman’s conduct and that hotel security intervened to prevent further violence; still, more could have been done to deescalate the dispute.
‘No Arlo guest – or any person – should be subject to this kind of behavior.
‘We want to apologize to Mr. Harrold and his son for this inexcusable experience, and have reached out to them directly to express our sincere regret and to offer help in dealing with this traumatic event.
‘We are committed to making sure this never happens again at any of our hotels.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to the hotel for comment.
Arlo SoHo is one of three boutique hotels operated by Arlo Hotels. The other two locations are in the NoMad section of Manhattan and the Arlo Nautilus on Miami Beach.
On social media, there are growing calls to boycott the hotel to protest the manager’s behavior.
Harrold posted another message to Instagram on Sunday saying that he went public with the video because the hotel manager allowed the woman to leave while waiting for the police to arrive.
‘Before posting this video yesterday, we prayed about how this would impact us as a family and above all how it would impact our son,’ Harrold wrote.
He added: ‘We asked for advice from professionals and weighed the decision for several hours.
‘The only reason we decided to go public and post on social media was because the hotel which had a security guard on duty let this young lady leave while waiting for the police to respond after she assaulted my son several times which is not seen on this video because my sons father dropped the phone to protect our son!
‘The police came and filed a report and said we would have to wait 3 days.
‘The hotel just went about their business after basically sweeping it under the rug with an “sorry this happened to you”.
‘Not until they were faced with scrutiny through social media did they answer a post on Instagram.
Harrold is an award winning trumpeter who has played with bestselling recording artists including Common, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Rihanna
Harrold posted another message to Instagram on Sunday saying that he went public with the video because the hotel manager allowed the woman to leave while waiting for the police to arrive
‘They answered a post on Instagram instead of going to my son and his fathers room which they were still checked in.
‘We are hurt and saddened but we are not people who want anyone to be falsely accused or want to ruin someone’s life.
‘Let’s be mindful and spread love through this hatefulness. We will share the guilty party when we properly ID them.
‘Until then, please do to others as you would want them to do to you.’
Harrold is an award winning trumpeter who has played with bestselling recording artists including Common, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Rihanna.
A native of Ferguson, Missouri, Harrold moved to New York City and started to play jazz as a professional musician at the age of 19.
In 2017, he appeared on the soundtrack of a biopic about Miles Davis titled ‘Miles Ahead,’ which won a Grammy Award.
Harrold told the Times that although he has a permanent residence in Long Island City, Queens, he had moved into the Arlo Hotel to find artistic and creative inspiration.
He said he had been staying at the hotel since mid-December.
As a result of the incident, he said he plans to move out of the hotel.
The incident on Saturday has drawn comparisons to the Memorial Day encounter between the ‘Central Park Karen’ and a black bird-watcher.
Amy Cooper was filmed hysterically dialing 911 on Harvard-grad Christian Cooper, falsely telling an operator an ‘African American man is threatening my life’.
She was charged by Manhattan prosecutors with one count of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree – a crime that carries a sentence of up to one year in jail.
The incident on Saturday has drawn comparisons to the Memorial Day encounter between the ‘Central Park Karen’ and a black bird-watcher. Amy Cooper (left) was filmed hysterically dialing 911 on Harvard-grad Christian Cooper (right), falsely telling an operator an ‘African American man is threatening my life’.