New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said the viral incident in which a woman falsely accused a black 14-year-old boy of stealing her cellphone was “Racism. Plain and simple.”
The mayor’s comments came as Manhattan prosecutors said they were “thoroughly investigating” the disturbing Saturday encounter at the Arlo Hotel in SoHo.
“It would be horrific at any age, but it’s especially offensive that it happened to a child,” de Blasio said on Twitter.
Part of the confrontation was captured on cellphone camera by the teenager’s father, jazz musician Keyon Harrold, who posted the footage on Instagram, where it went viral.
On Monday, lawyers for the family called for authorities to bring criminal charges against the unidentified woman, who lunged at teen Keyon Harrold Jr. after claiming he’d snatched her phone.
Her missing phone was returned by an Uber driver a few minutes after the incident, the boy’s dad said.
The mayor called the woman’s actions “an affront to our city’s values.”
“To Keyon Harrold Jr. and his family: I am so sorry this happened to you,” he said.
Police previously confirmed they were called to the hotel on Saturday for a report of harassment where a woman had allegedly grabbed and shoved the dad and son after accusing them of taking a cellphone she had misplaced.
The encounter has drawn comparisons to notorious Central Park ‘Karen’ Amy Cooper — who touched off a firestorm in May when she called the cops on a black birdwatcher who asked her to keep her dog on a leash.
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