A New Yorker became the subject of ridicule and hate in the social media after she had falsely accused a boy of groping her while shopping at a deli.
Teresa Klein, who is white, made a tumult this week in front of the Sahara deli market in Brooklyn's Flatbush neighborhood when she told a 911 dispatcher that the boy, who was black, was attacking her. The spectacle was captured in a now viral video, and Klein, a 53-year-old resident of Brooklyn, was nicknamed #CornerstoreCaroline.
"No, I want the cops here," Klein said as she held her cell phone to her ear and a crowd of angry onlookers gathered.
The boy, who was wearing a wrapped green shirt and carrying a backpack, began to cry as the woman in the aviator goggles and knee-high boots accused him of grabbing her.
The crowd grew angrier and shouted at Klein, who had covered her other ear while continuing to speak with the 911 operator.
"I've just been sexually assaulted by a kid," Klein said.
"Are you seriously calling the police?", You can hear a woman say.
New York's Jason Littlejohn recorded the incident Wednesday and shared it on Facebook, where he has since viewed more than 5 million views. The incident comes amidst a series of controversies with black or brown people who have found the topics of 911 emergency calls. Such false-alarm calls for non-emergency incidents, many of which have been videotaped, have raised questions about whether these calls had less to do with what someone did, but because of the person's race.
On Friday, Klein went back to the store where reporters surrounded her. Later, Klein, the reporters and several onlookers, many with phones in their hands, huddled in the small deli, where surveillance videos of the alleged seizure were played on a wall-mounted screen.
The video showed Klein standing at the cash register as the boy passed behind him with his blue backpack and a plastic bag in his right hand. When the boy's bag seemed to wind against Klein, she looked frightened behind her.
Another Facebook video, also uploaded by Littlejohn, showed Klein following the surveillance footage. Viewers yelled at Klein and called her a liar after the footage showed she was wrong. But Klein did not seem to notice, only talking to the reporters who asked her about the footage, what she thought about it.
"The child accidentally brushed against me," she admitted.
She looked into one of the television cameras and apologized to the boy, whose identity was unknown. "Young man, I do not know your name, but I'm sorry."
The Washington Post could not reach Klein on Saturday. A number that she gave to the dispatcher during her distress call is no longer in use. She told Fox member WNYW that she was not racist and that she called 911 because the boy's mother had become very aggressive towards her.
The New York police said the department had received no complaints or emergency calls from the Deli address.
Last year, there were several incidents involving black people whose mundane activities were viewed with suspicious eyes. Therefore came #LivingWhileBlack.
He mowed the lawn for a 12-year-old black boy in Ohio. For an 8-year-old girl in California, she sold water outside the home where she lives. And for some young black men in Philadelphia, it was sitting in a Starbucks, waiting for a person to meet them. A black legislature in Oregon was recruited in their district. For a graduate of Yale University, it was a nap in one of the school's common rooms. For a group of black students in Pennsylvania, she collected garbage on a highway as part of a civil service.
The former White House employee Darren Martin moved to his new Manhattan apartment. Martin is one of a group of black people who wrote to the House and Senate Justice Committees last summer asking for a racial profile hearing, said Washington Post's Cleve R. Wootson, Jr.
In September, New York Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Brooklyn) held a council meeting entitled Living While Black. Hamilton had also introduced legislation that falsely referred to an incident as a hate crime. The bill remains in the committee.
Cleve R. Wootson Jr. contributed to this article.
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