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Black teen, 14, accused of stealing phone by Soho Karen says he feared for his life

The 14-year-old black teen who was attacked by ‘SoHo Karen’ when she wrongly accused him of stealing her phone says he’s still ‘shell-shocked’ and fears what would have happened if his father wasn’t with him.

On Saturday Grammy-winning African American jazz artist Keyon Harrold filmed the moment a young woman approached his 14-year-old son Keyon Jr in the lobby of the boutique Arlo Hotel in SoHo and tackled him.

‘I don’t know what would have happened if my dad wasn’t there. These past few days, still kind of shell-shocked, but I’m hanging in there,’ Keyon Jr said on Good Morning America Tuesday.

‘For me I was confused because I had never seen that lady ever and I didn’t know what to do in the moment. That’s why I was happy to have my dad here to help me,’ he said. 

Video of the incident was shared on social media, where it sparked outrage. The family’s lawyer is petitioning the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to press charges including assault and battery.  

DailyMail.com has reached out to the Arlo hotel for comment. 

Keyon Harrold Jr, 14, (left with father Keyon Harrold Sr) says he’s still ‘shell-shocked’ after the Soho Karen attack on Saturday, where a woman falsely accused him of stealing her phone

'SoHo Karen'

On Saturday Grammy-winning African American jazz artist Keyon Harrold filmed the moment a young white woman approached his 14-year-old son Keyon Jr in the lobby of the boutique Arlo Hotel in SoHo and tackled him. Now civil rights attorney Ben Crump is demanding she be hit with charges 

On Monday the DA’s office and the New York Police Department said they were investigating the incident. 

SoHo Karen is yet to be publicly identified. 

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.’

On Tuesday GMA host TJ Holmes asked Keyon Jr why he thinks the woman accused him and physically came after him. 

‘I think it’s because for me, I was a threat to her, and it think she was scared, so that’s why when she saw me she like jumped on me and attacked me,’ Keyon Jr said.

His father said the woman was ‘all on him asking him for his phone immediately.’

After video of the incident cut off she ‘basically tackled, she scratched me.’

Keyon Jr’s mother Kat Rodriguez revealed she feared for her son’s life when she heard about the incident. 

When asked if he feared for his life in the attack, Keyon Jr said 'Yes. I think because if you’re by yourself, right? And you have no one to help you and you have no proof and it was just me by myself, it would have been a different story'

When asked if he feared for his life in the attack, Keyon Jr said ‘Yes. I think because if you’re by yourself, right? And you have no one to help you and you have no proof and it was just me by myself, it would have been a different story’

Keyon Jr's mother Kat Rodriguez revealed she feared for her son's life when she heard about the incident saying: 'Fear came in because my son, if his father wouldn’t have been there, what would’ve happened to my son if the cops had been called? As a mother, when my son asks me "Why me, mom," it just hurt

Keyon Jr’s mother Kat Rodriguez revealed she feared for her son’s life when she heard about the incident saying: ‘Fear came in because my son, if his father wouldn’t have been there, what would’ve happened to my son if the cops had been called? As a mother, when my son asks me “Why me, mom,” it just hurt

‘For me, fear. Fear came in because my son, if his father wouldn’t have been there, what would’ve happened to my son if the cops had been called? As a mother, when my son asks me “Why me, mom,” it just hurt,’ she said.

‘The toughest answer that a parent has to give their child – “Son, unfortunately, it might be because you’re black. You’re no longer seen as a child,”‘ she added.

She says she wants to hear SoHo Karen’s side to understand why she launched the attack.

When asked if he feared for his life in the attack, Keyon Jr said ‘Yes.’

‘I think because if you’re by yourself, right? And you have no one to help you and you have no proof and it was just me by myself, it would have been a different story,’ Keyon said. 

A viral video was posted to social media showing a 'Karen' (left) falsely accusing a black teenager 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

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

On Monday, Crump took to Twitter and called for her to be criminally charged

On Monday, Crump took to Twitter and called for her to be criminally charged

‘We want charges because we have to send a message because this has larger societal implications. Think about how many black men have been accused by these Karens and they end up losing their liberty and losing their life sitting in prison,’ attorney Ben Crump said on the morning show.

‘We have a petition for the Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr to bring charges against this woman for assault and battery,’ he added.

Keyon was asked what he would say to the woman if he had the chance.

‘At first I would expect an apology and two I would ask her why would she do something like this to a kid who has never met you at all. I would just ask, just why,’ he said. 

Arlo Hotels apologized for the ‘recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel’ on Instagram.

‘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 inexcuseable experience, and have reached out to them directly to express our sincere regret and to offer help in dealing with the traumatic event,’ the statement said. 

The one-minute-long video Harrold shared on social media shows 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.

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

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

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

Instagrammer Cassandra Medina, a nurse from Staten Island, has denied that she is the woman in the video

Instagrammer Cassandra Medina, a nurse from Staten Island, has denied that she is the woman in the video

Medina posted a message on her Instagram page which read: 'That person in the video is not me'

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’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.

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.

Arlo Hotels apologized for the 'recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel' on Instagram saying: '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 inexcuseable experience, and have reached out to them directly to express our sincere regret and to offer help in dealing with the traumatic event'

Arlo Hotels apologized for the ‘recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel’ on Instagram saying: ‘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 inexcuseable experience, and have reached out to them directly to express our sincere regret and to offer help in dealing with the traumatic event’

A view of the Arlo Hotel in SoHo above

A view of the Arlo Hotel in SoHo above

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.’  

Harrold replies: ‘My son has nothing to do with her.’

Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Harrold filmed the incident and shared it

Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Harrold filmed the incident and shared it

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. 


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