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New video shows woman tackling son of jazz musician during phone dispute in hotel

Jazz musician Keyon Harrold says he and his 14-year-old son were racially profiled by a woman who falsely accused the boy of stealing her phone.
/ Source: TODAY

New video footage has been released showing the moment a woman tackled the teen son of a prominent Black musician in a hotel lobby after wrongly accusing the boy of stealing her iPhone.

The hotel surveillance footage of the incident released by the New York Police Department on Wednesday shows the woman rushing Keyon Harrold Jr., 14, in the Arlo Soho Hotel in Manhattan on Saturday.

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Harrold's father, trumpeter Keyon Harrold Sr., posted the initial video of the confrontation on Instagram Saturday, writing that he was "furious." Police said the woman's phone was later found in an Uber.

"I tried to tell her as best as I could, you know, that ... he doesn't have your phone," Harrold said on TODAY Tuesday. "She basically tackled my son trying to reach in his pocket, reach in my pocket."

The Instagram video, which has been viewed more than 2.7 million times, shows the woman badgering Harrold while standing behind the hotel's manager.

Harrold said at a rally on Wednesday with civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump that he and his son were victims of racial profiling.

"I can’t even come downstairs in NYC and get brunch without getting attacked and wrongfully accused for something," he said.

The boy's mother, musician Kat Rodriguez, spoke at the rally and described the family's motivation for coming forward with the video.

"This fight is not only for our son. It's for all of our sons and daughters," she said. "If we were a family that didn't have these connections ... if I was a maid, this story wouldn't have hit the news. What about those people that don't get to get heard?"

Harrold and Crump are calling on the district attorney to bring assault and battery charges against the woman. Police said Harrold Sr. was scratched on his hand during the confrontation.

Harrold and Crump are also calling for a civil rights investigation into the Arlo Soho Hotel.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance met with the family Wednesday to discuss the case. His office said earlier this week was being investigated.

The NYPD says the case is not being investigated as a bias incident.

The woman, who withheld her identity, spoke to CNN on the phone on Tuesday.

She claimed she was the victim, and also said she had asked another person in the hotel about her phone before running into Harrold.

The hotel released a statement that said in part "more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute" and apologized to Harrold and his son for "this inexcusable experience." The hotel also said the manager on duty promptly called police regarding the woman's conduct.

The NYPD is now asking for the public's help in locating the woman in the video. The woman spoke to CNN in a phone interview on Tuesday but CNN said it was not naming her publicly because she said she has concerns for her safety unrelated to this incident.

She said she was the victim and that she had also asked another individual in the hotel about her phone before confronting Harrold Jr. CNN said she stopped responding to requests after being asked to provide evidence that she was assaulted.

NBC News was unable to make contact with the woman and does not know what happened before or after the video was taken.