NORTH HOLLYWOOD (CNS) — Standing in front of the Los Angeles Police Department’s North Hollywood station, social activists urged LAPD Chief Michel Moore to arrest a local woman they believe — in a racially motivated attack — tackled a 14-year-old boy in a Manhattan hotel lobby over what later turned out to be his own cellphone.
“It’s the duty and the responsibility — not only of the city — but especially where we stand now, the LAPD step up to the plate (and) make the arrest. Do your duty and officials in this city expedite her,” Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson said at the news conference on Saturday, Jan. 2.
In an incident captured on video that has gone viral, a woman accused the Black teenager of stealing her phone on Dec. 26 at the Arlo SoHo. She tackled the boy and tried to keep him from leaving the hotel’s lobby.
The woman’s phone was later returned to her by a rideshare driver.
The teenager is the son of Grammy-winning New York-based jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, who spoke out about the incident later in the week.
“I want my son to grow up whole. That’s all we want,” Harrold said at a news conference in New York on Dec. 30. “… And I can’t even come downstairs in New York City … and just go get brunch without being attacked and wrongfully accused of something.”
New York police have said that they are looking into possible assault and other charges against the woman if they can find her. Rodney Harrison, NYPD’s chief of detectives, tweeted video of the incident on Dec. 30 and said, “The @NYPDnews is requesting the public’s assistance locating the suspect in this video.’’
Multiple media outlets have reported that the woman lives in Sun Valley, leading to the Saturday news conference by Hutchinson and Ali.
“We’re confident, once she’s extradited to New York, there will be a prosecution, a vigorous prosecution, as a racially-hate and motivated crime,” Hutchinson said. “The main thing is that she has been identified. She is not an anonymous person of interest.’’
Officer J. Chavez of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section told City News Service on Saturday that New York police had not yet reached out to the LAPD regarding the investigation.
“It’s a New York incident and we’re aware of it from the coverage the news has been doing on it,” Chavez said. “The NYPD has sole investigative power over this. We have not been contacted by them for any assistance. If they ask us to do so, we will”
Police in New York have not officially released the woman’s name, but the New York Post, citing an unidentified NYPD source, identified her as a 22-year-old woman, referred to as Soho Karen, who lives in Sun Valley and whose family lives in Simi Valley in Ventura County, where she reportedly graduated from high school.
The Daily Mail reported that the woman was arrested in Beverly Hills on suspicion of public intoxication on Feb. 28, and again for alleged DUI on May 28 near Calabasas.
“She is now a fugitive from justice,’’ activist Najee Ali said at the news conference. “We’re calling upon the LAPD to arrest her and send her back to New York City where she can stand charges.
“At the end of the day, the whole nation saw this white woman attack a Black child on videotape,” he added. “It’s important that she stops being a fugitive from justice. In fact, she should turn herself in. We want her to turn herself in.”