Woman who wrongly accused jazz musician’s Black son in NYC iPhone theft speaks out in TV interview

John Annese, New York Daily News

The tourist who wrongly accused a prominent musician’s Black son of stealing her iPhone in a Manhattan hotel claims in a TV interview she was assaulted before the incident.

Video of the 22-year-old woman’s encounter Saturday at the Arlo hotel on Hudson St. near Canal St. in SoHo has sparked an outcry, with the boy’s father, Grammy-winning trumpet player Keyon Harrold, alleging that she falsely accused his teenage son because he is Black.

In a Tuesday interview with CNN, the woman maintained that she was assaulted at some point, and that she pressed hotel staff to check surveillance video to help find her phone before the encounter with 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. began.

She then asked another person in the lobby to “empty their pocket,” before accusing Harrold Jr. of having her phone in his pocket, she told the network.

“That’s when everything got a little bit more serious,” she said.

CNN described its 20-minute interview with the woman as “rambling,” and said it couldn’t corroborate her claims of being assaulted or other statements she made. The network held back on identifying the woman.

As for facing criminal charges or fallout to her reputation, the woman 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.”

NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said Tuesday that charges could be filed against the out-of-state woman once she’s found.

The elder Harrold posted a video of the incident on Instagram showing the woman demanding the teen hand back the “stolen” cellphone multiple times.

She then lunged at the father and son, the video shows. An Uber driver dropped off her missing phone moments later, police said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted support for Harrold and his son, calling the woman’s actions “racism, plain and simple.”