(NewsNation) — A New York City health care worker has been placed on leave after video surfaced online showing her fighting with a man over a rentable bike.
Video posted online Saturday shows the white woman, identified by her lawyer as Sarah Comrie, yelling for help as she tries to wrestle a Citi Bike from a Black man who claims he rented it.
Comrie’s attorney, Justin Marino, joined “On Balance With Leland Vittert,” saying the bike was hers all along, showing the receipt for the bike question.
The bike number on the receipt matches the bike Comrie is seen being pushed off of in the video.
“It’s quite simple,” he said. “My client finished her 12-hour shift (and) wanted to go home. And she went to the bike, it was unattended. She mounted the bike. She paid for the bike. She rolled the bike back up from the docking station.”
Marino said that is when other individuals were saying that they wanted the bike and that it was their bike.
“Somebody pushed the bike that she was on back into the docking station, it relocked,” he said. “And then the video takes over and it shows you that she’s just frankly in incredible distress.”
Comrie is six months pregnant.
“For a woman who is pregnant, you would protect your belly over every other part of your body,” Marino said. “And at this moment in that video, you see this individual’s arms touching it.”
NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue confirmed the employee is on leave while the hospital conducts a review.
“Sarah is in hiding,” Marino said. “She received threats to herself and her family. And this entire fiasco is a complete disaster for herself. For her and her family.”
In a statement, the hospital said, “We are aware of the video involving the healthcare provider off duty and away from the hospital campus, The incident in the video is disturbing. The provider is currently out on leave and will remain on leave pending a review. As a healthcare system, we’re committed to providing an environment for our patients and staff that’s free from discrimination of any kind.”
Marino says the hospital is placating the mob.
“I think they, much like the media, are placating the mob,” he said. “I think their decision to investigate makes sense. But in order to placate the mob, and perhaps stop the repeated and constant calls for her termination, they put that out, to try to stop them from constantly barraging them and give them some time to do an investigation.”
Marino said his client doesn’t want to bring charges against anyone and says an investigation into the incident “does make sense for them to do” to make sure everything is appropriate to exonerate her.
Right now there is no cause of action, although Marino said he was brought in “to ensure that her job is going to be still there and should they violate it, there will be repercussions.”
Comrie was branded as a “Karen” in online posts, and local media coverage cast her as the aggressor in the incident.
Marino said they are looking at filing defamation claims.
“Every news organization that has called her Karen called her racist, called her a thief, we will be looking at them for purposes of filing defamation claims,’ he said. “And the purpose of that is to ensure that no individual is ever subject to the disaster that my client is presently going through.”
Marino said Comrie has no ill will and wishes the other individuals the best.
“We think this is just a terrible mistake, misunderstanding,” he said.