The New York Police Department has asked for the public’s help in locating a woman it says is seen in a short security video clip attacking the son of a prominent Black musician after she falsely accused the teen of taking her iPhone.
The video was tweeted late Wednesday by NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison, who wrote: “The woman in this video falsely accused an innocent 14-year-old teenager of stealing her cellphone. She then proceeded to physically attack him and fled the location before police officers arrived on scene.”
The video includes an image of the woman above the word “Wanted.”
The tweet comes days after award-winning jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold posted his own phone video showing the woman making claims against his son on Saturday at the Arlo SoHo boutique hotel.
Police previously told CNN they know the identity of the woman and wanted to speak with her about the incident. The NYPD would not comment on whether she is wanted for questioning or whether charges are forthcoming.
Harrison tweeted the clip with multiple hotel camera angles, showing a woman in a light-colored cap rushing at someone who appears to be Harrison’s son in a red cap. The woman grabs him by the waist and the two fall to the floor.
CNN has requested the unedited video from both the NYPD and the Arlo Hotel and both declined to provide a copy.
Harrold and his son are Black and were guests at the hotel in lower Manhattan. The ethnicity of the woman in the video is not clear, although New York police described her as White.
Harrold’s video of the encounter has been widely shared on social media, prompting an outcry about what many felt was yet another incident of racial profiling against Black men. The hotel apologized and called the woman’s behavior a “baseless accusation, prejudice and assault against an innocent guest.”
Harrold said in an Instagram post that he and his son had left their hotel room to get breakfast when they encountered the woman.
The parents of the teenager, Keyon Harrold Jr., and their attorney Ben Crump said Wednesday they were meeting with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. They told CNN’s Don Lemon that the DA told them the video is worse than what the father posted on Instagram on Sunday.
The parents and their lawyer contend the incident was a racially motivated, but the NYPD said Tuesday it is not being investigated as a bias crime.
After viewing surveillance video, investigators are considering charging the woman with assault and possibly grand larceny or attempted robbery, Harrison said Tuesday.
The woman’s phone was returned to her at the hotel moments after the incident by a ride-share vehicle she used before trying to check in to the hotel, according to Harrison.
The woman has not come forward, but CNN on Tuesday was the first news organization to talk to her by phone. She disputed Harrold’s account of what happened.
While the 22-year-old woman claimed she was assaulted during the altercation, CNN hasn’t been able to corroborate her account with investigators or with the hotel where the incident took place.
In a 20-minute phone interview in which she acted erratically and was rambling at times, she said the incident unfolded after she first demanded to see the hotel’s surveillance video to try to pinpoint who may have taken her phone.
She says she then asked someone else in the hotel lobby to “empty their pocket,” before ultimately confronting Keyon Harrold Jr., who she maintained had her phone in his pocket.
“That’s when everything got a little bit more serious,” the woman said referring to the interaction.
The woman said she would be willing to cooperate, speak with the NYPD and the Harrold family. CNN has made repeated and unsuccessful attempts to contact the woman since Tuesday.