Rally calls for justice in viral hotel confrontation: ‘This is a racial injustice issue. This narrative has to change’

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The parents of a Black teen accused of stealing a woman’s cellphone spoke out at a rally on Wednesday, calling for the woman involved to be held accountable for her actions.

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MANHATTAN — The parents of a Black teen accused of stealing a woman’s cellphone spoke out at a rally on Wednesday, calling for the woman involved to be held accountable for her actions.

Keyon Harrold and Kat Rodriguez were joined by civil rights icon and activist Al Sharpton and demonstrators Wednesday and called for the NYPD to publicly identify and charge the woman involved for racially profiling the teen.

“Can you imagine what the narrative would have been if Keyon Harrold had not videoed the incident on his cellphone?” questioned the family’s attorney Ben Crump.

Keyon Harrold posted a widely viewed video of the confrontation Saturday at the Arlo Hotel, which prompted comparisons to recent incidents involving false accusations against Black people.

Harrold said the unidentified woman scratched him and tackled and grabbed his son, Keyon Harrold Jr., at the lower Manhattan hotel where the pair were staying.

Harrold said the woman’s phone was returned by an Uber driver shortly afterward.

Holding back tears, the teen’s mother, said the incident could have ended very differently.

“It breaks my heart that this is happening to our son. This incident could have been avoided in so many ways,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez criticized the hotel’s manager, management and security for not deescalating the situation and allowing the woman to leave without any repercussions for assaulting her son.

“If the shoe was on the other foot and this was a Black woman or man who assaulted a white child — which I would never condone — do you think she or he would have been allowed to leave the establishment?” Rodriguez asked.

“We are all supposed to have equal rights, but the reality is that we don’t. So yes, this is a racial injustice issue. This narrative has to change,” the teen’s mother said.

The teen’s father Keyon Harrold Sr. recounted the incident.

“This could’ve gone very wrong,” Harrold said, “my son was proven guilty” before he had the chance to explain himself.

“The idea of trauma goes above any charge,” Harrold said, “I want my son to grow up whole.”

“The hotel played it down. The officers that I spoke to, they played it down. That’s the reason why I posted the video,” he said.

After speaking, Harrold played “We Shall Overcome” on his trumpet, calling music a platform he has used to address social justice.

Police have since identified the woman wanted in connection to the incident, but have not released her name.

“There is clearly no reason to treat her any differently…than any number of Blacks that are accused of a crime, or others in this city” Sharpton told the PIX11 Morning News on Wednesday.

Detectives launched a search for her, NYPD officials said Tuesday.

Police have said the incident is not being investigated as a bias incident, but Mayor Bill de Blasio called what happened racism, “pure and simple,” in a tweet Monday.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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