There is yet another development in the viral story involving a 17-year-old Black teen who was caught up in a heated confrontation with a white woman as the two fought over a rental bike. The viral video showed her accusing the teen of stealing the bike. Shortly after she showed receipts to prove she paid for the rental bike, the teen is now responding with evidence of his own.
He defended himself recently when he sat down for an interview with News One, joined by his mother and sister. Betty, his mother, agreed to do the interview after confirming that her children can use alternative names to protect their identity.
Betty’s son, who is known as Michael in the article, showed his receipts during the interview. According to the receipts, Michael first rented the bike at 5:53 p.m. on May 12, then re-docked and re-used the bike multiple times that night before reaching his final destination at 10:12 p.m.
As Blavity previously reported, Sarah Jane Comrie, and her attorney, Justin Marino, also presented receipts to prove that she was one who paid for the rental bike. Michael said he has been facing harassment ever since. “When those receipts got released, everything flipped,” he told News One. “People started calling me a ‘thief,’ a ‘thug,’ and a ‘Black man.'”
Michael’s sister, who is known as Mary in the News One story, said her brother has been riding Citi Bikes for three years. “I’m the person that’s appointed to be the representative for my family,” she told the news outlet. “My parents are immigrants. My mom doesn’t know what to do. She can’t handle any of this, so it’s up to me to figure out what to do.”
Mary said she has been looking for attorneys to represent her brother, but so far they haven’t received any help. “There have been a bunch of roadblocks to getting my brother’s story out there,” Mary said. “He’s only 17. He doesn’t deserve to be going through this. And this woman just comes up and starts harassing a bunch of teenagers.”
Comrie, an employee at Bellevue Hospital, was seen yelling when she argued with the teen and his friends as they insisted that she get off the bike they paid for. “Help! Help! Help!” she yelled. Comrie was also bashed on social media for fake crying. The argument continued until Comrie took an empty bike sitting next to her.
Bellevue Hospital placed Comrie on leave after the story went viral. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump also condemned Comrie in a statement on Twitter but later deleted the post. “This is unacceptable! A white woman was caught on camera attempting to STEAL a Citi Bike from a young Black man in NYC,” Crump tweeted at the time. “She grossly tried to weaponize her tears to paint this man as a threat.”