SOHO, Manhattan — A Black father and his son spoke out Tuesday morning after a video went viral of of a woman confronting and falsely accusing the teen of stealing her cellphone in a Manhattan hotel over the weekend.
Grammy Award-winning Jazz musician Keyon Harrold posted the widely viewed video to Instagram at the Arlo Hotel, which prompted comparisons to recent incidents involving false accusations against Black people.
Harrold said in his post the unidentified woman scratched him as well as tackled and grabbed his son, Keyon Harrold Jr., at the SoHo hotel where the pair were staying.
The family spoke to “Good Morning America” Tuesday and the teen said he’s still “shell-shocked” by the confrontation.
“I’ve been alright, I guess,” said Harrold Jr. “I mean, I’ve been confused. I don’t know what would have happened if my dad wasn’t there, honestly.”
As for what was going through his mind at the moment, Harrold Jr. said he was just confused.
“For me, I was confused, because I had never seen that lady ever. And I didn’t know what to do at the moment. That’s why I was happy to have my dad there to help me.”
EXCLUSIVE: Keyon Harrold Jr. says he’s still “shell-shocked” from the confrontation with a white woman who wrongly accused the teen of stealing her phone: “I think I was a threat to her.”— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 29, 2020
His family and lawyer Ben Crump are now searching for justice. https://t.co/i9rZzYvW4s pic.twitter.com/D7L0Lu8Wm2
When asked why he thinks the woman accused him, the teen said he thinks she was scared.
“I think I was a threat to her, and I think she was scared,” said Harrold Jr. “So, that’s why when she saw me, she just jumped on me and attacked me.”
According to Harrold’s social media post, the woman’s phone was returned by an Uber driver shortly after the incident.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called what happened racism, “pure and simple,” in a tweet Monday.
New York prosecutors have launched an investigation into a confrontation.
Attorney Ben Crump is representing the family and has posted an online petition calling on the Manhattan district attorney to bring charges against the woman in the video.
As of late Tuesday morning, the petition had just over 20,300 digital signatures of the 100,000 desired.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.