Soho Karen aka Cassandra Medina claims she was the one assaulted in scuffle with black teen boy Keyon Harrold Jr over alleged stolen iPhone during CNN interview.
A woman observed on video falsely accusing a 14 year old black teen boy of stealing her cellphone at a New York City hotel is now claiming that she was assaulted during the altercation and denies racially profiling the boy.
The 22-year-old woman, who still has not yet been publicly named, and who has since been dubbed as Soho Karen was filmed Saturday by Grammy-winning African American jazz artist Keyon Harrold as she approached his son, Keyon Jr., in the lobby of the boutique Arlo Hotel and tackled him.
In the recording, the woman who social media has outed as Staten Island woman, Cassandra Medina, a claim the woman has publicly denied is her — is seen pushing and grabbing at the father and son as she attempted to grab his cellphone, believing it to be hers.
Moments after the ‘altercation’ ended, her phone was reportedly found in an Uber and returned to her by the driver.
While the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office consider whether to criminally charge the woman, she spoke to CNN Wednesday to dispute Harrold’s account of what happened, insisting ‘that’s not who I am.’
Woman: “He’s not leaving…I’m not letting him walk away with my phone.”
The woman’s phone was found in an Uber.pic.twitter.com/qWMKE9XSSy
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 28, 2020
‘racial injustice issue’,
The woman’s claim comes on the same day that Keyon Sr., and Keyon Jr.’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, held a press conference alongside civil rights attorney Ben Crump, in which they urged officials to charge her with assault.
Rodriguez called the incident a ‘racial injustice issue’, and said she was ‘heartbroken’ that he son had to experience it.
During a 20-minute phone call with CNN, ‘Soho Karen’ claimed that she was assaulted during the altercation with Keyon Sr. and his son, while failed to provide further details, including who allegedly assaulted her — upon being prodded by outlet.
The 22-year-old’s allegation has not been corroborated by investigators or any witnesses to the December 26 incident.
After she eventually agreed to provide evidence to the network to support the claim, the woman reportedly stopped replying to CNN’s messages and calls.
According to the woman – the incident was spurred when she first demanded to see the hotel’s surveillance footage to try and pinpoint who may have taken her phone.
After the request was denied, she reportedly then approached someone else in the lobby, demanding that they ’empty their pockets’, before turning her attention to Keyon Jr. ‘That’s when everything got a little more serious,’ she said.
As a Grammy-winning Jazz musician, @KeyonHarrold’s relies on his hands for his livelihood. But on Saturday morning, those hands were injured while protecting his son from a raving lunatic. She falsely accused him of stealing her phone and must be held accountable for that attack! pic.twitter.com/RX2uo67PWJ
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) December 29, 2020
‘That’s not who I am’
Soho Karen also provided additional information of events preceding and unrelated to the incident, which CNN said it has so far been unable to verify.
In a report, the NYPD stated that they may charge Soho Karen with assault, grand larceny or attempted robbery, but a decision has not yet been made.
Speaking out about her concerns over the possibility of facing charges, she said: ‘Of course I worry. That’s not who I am. I actually… try very hard to make sure that I am always doing the right thing.’
The woman added she is willing to cooperate with any police investigation, while saying she has not yet been contacted by investigators, nor has she reached out herself.
Keyon Jr. spoke alongside his father to ABC on Tuesday (see below), telling the network he’s still ‘shell shocked’ over what happened.
‘I don’t know what would have happened if my dad wasn’t there. These past few days, still kind of shell-shocked, but I’m hanging in there.
The teenage son of prominent jazz musician Keyon Harrold was falsely accused by a white woman of stealing her iPhone at a hotel in New York City. Harrold and attorney Benjamin Crump are now speaking out as police investigate the incident. @KathyParkNBC reports. pic.twitter.com/5XK6PdFAk7
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 29, 2020
‘For me I was confused because I had never seen that lady ever and I didn’t know what to do in the moment. That’s why I was happy to have my dad here to help me,’ he said.
Earlier this week, New York City Mayor De Blasio on Twitter called the incident ‘racism. Plain and simple.’
‘It would be horrific at any age, but it’s especially offensive that it happened to a child,’ he wrote. ‘To Keyon Harrold Jr. and his family: I am so sorry this happened to you.’
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has since led the call to have charges filed against the woman in the video.
‘As this year of racial awareness is drawing to a close, it’s deeply troubling that incidents like this one, in which a Black child is viewed as and treated like a criminal, continue to happen,’ Crump said in a statement.
Bombarded with abuse
‘We strongly urge Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. to bring assault and battery charges against this woman to send the message that hateful, racially motivated behavior is unacceptable,’ Crump added. ‘This is what it will take to drive change. We also call for a civil rights investigation into the Arlo Hotel for its implicit bias in its treatment of Keyon.’
While authorities ensure they have identified the woman in the video, online, outraged social media users are attempting to track her down themselves.
One social media influencer, Cassandra Medina, who was pictured at the hotel three days before the incident has posted a denial to Instagram that she is the ‘Karen’ after being bombarded with abuse.