On December 26, Grammy-winning musician Keyon Harrold and his 14-year-old son were enjoying a stay at New York’s Arlo Hotel. Things went south after they went downstairs for breakfast and Harrold’s son was accused of stealing a woman’s phone.
According to Harrold, the woman was no longer a guest at the hotel and it was later discovered that she had left her phone in an Uber.
The artist believes that the claim was made against his son because he is Black. The woman has been described as white by police.
“I am furious!!! We see this crap happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home,” Harrold wrote on Instagram on Saturday. “I typically try to keep things positive, but nothing about this video is positive.” He posted video of the incident, which included the 22-year-old woman demanding to see the teen’s phone as proof that it was not hers.
“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,” he added. The clip is just over one minute long and has been viewed 2 million times.
Since the altercation, the Arlo Hotel has issued a statement about what happened, directly referring to it a an act of “prejudice” and calling it “assault.” Within the formal note, they also apologized to Harrold and his son.
“We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against innocent guest of Arlo Hotel,” the post reads. “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.”
New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio has spoken out via Twitter, saying, “This is racism. Plain and simple.” Surveillance has since since been retrieved and prosecutors are considering pressing charges against the woman. In the footage, she is seen tackling the boy.
Rodney Harrison, the chief of detectives for the New York Police Department shared with CNN that the “investigation is still preliminary.”
“The complainants are cooperating and I’m confident that the investigators from the first precinct will make an arrest on this case sooner than later.”
The woman in the clip said to CNN that she is open to speaking with the Harrold family. That’s not who I am,” she said. “I actually..try very hard to make sure that I am always doing the right thing.”
The teenager has since spoken to Good Morning America about the situation, saying, “I mean, don’t know what would’ve happened if my dad wasn’t there, honestly.”