To often today we see the police used not for true emergencies, but they are often utilized to handle ones racist/prejudice views towards people of color. A New York woman became the subject of ridicule and hatred on social media after she falsely accused a boy of groping her while she was shopping inside a deli.
Teresa Klein, who is white, created a commotion earlier this week outside the Sahara Deli Market in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood as she appeared to tell a 911 dispatcher that the boy, who is black, assaulted her. The spectacle was captured in a now-viral video, and Klein, a 53-year-old Brooklyn resident, has been nicknamed #CornerstoreCaroline.
“No, I want the cops here right now,” Klein said as she held her phone to her ear and a crowd of angry onlookers began to gather around.
The boy, wearing a tucked-in green shirt and carrying a backpack, began to cry as the woman in aviator glasses and knee-high boots accused him of grabbing her.
The crowd grew angrier, screaming at Klein, who had covered her other ear as she continued to talk to the 911 operator.
“I just was sexually assaulted by a child,” Klein said.
“Are you seriously calling the police?” a woman can be heard saying.
New York resident Jason Littlejohn recorded the Wednesday incident and shared it on Facebook, where it has since been viewed more than 5 million times. The incident comes amid a string of controversies involving black or brown people who have found themselves the subjects of 911 calls. Such false-alarm emergency calls over non-emergency incidents, many of which have been captured on video, have raised questions about whether these calls had less to do with what someone was doing, 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 held up, crowded inside the small deli, where surveillance footage of the alleged grabbing was being played on a screen mounted on a wall.
The video showed Klein standing at the register as the boy walked past behind her with his blue backpack and a plastic bag in his right hand. As the boy’s bag appeared to brush against Klein, she looked behind her, seeming startled.
Another Facebook video, also uploaded by Littlejohn, showed Klein watching the surveillance footage. Onlookers screamed at Klein and called her a liar after the footage revealed she was wrong. But Klein seemed oblivious and spoke only to the reporters, who asked her what she thought after watching the footage.
“The child accidentally brushed against me,” she acknowledged.