Black Teen Wrongly Accused of Stealing Phone Is Latest Example of What Some Black Patrons Experience in Hotels

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The now notorious incident in which a Black 14-year-old teen was wrongly accused of stealing a white woman’s iPhone at a hotel in New York City is causing outrage across America. And it’s the latest example of Black people who say they were treated with suspicion when staying at upscale hotels.

Inside Edition Correspondent Jim Moret recently spoke with six Black Americans who say they were treated like criminals during their hotel stays.

Dramaine Vinegar shot video of his confrontation at a Silicon Valley Marriott.

“We checked out, we got out of there. We left. I didn't feel safe any more,” Vinegar told Inside Edition.

The Marriott says the incident is being investigated.

In another incident, college professor Arnold Kemp was accused of being a pickpocket by a security guard at the Historic Palmer House Hilton in Chicago until a white guest vouched for him.

“The plainclothes person said, 'well he looks like someone we don't want here,'” Kemp told Inside Edition.

Kemp said “there’s no question” he was singled out because of his race.

The Palmer House Hilton told Inside Edition they have “a zero tolerance policy against racism and discrimination."

All six patrons are taking legal action against the hotels they stayed in.

Meanwhile, Keyon Harrold Jr, the 14-year-old falsely accused of stealing the woman’s cell phone, spoke out for the first time on “Good Morning America.”

“I don't know what would have happened if my dad wasn't there, honestly. But I'm still kind of shell shocked,” he said.

Inside Edition spoke with his parents and their lawyer, Benjamin Crump.

“I'm as angry at the establishment as I am angry at this woman. The establishment took the side of this woman without even asking my son,” the teen's mother said.

“People of color can't just simply be in a nice establishment without being looked upon as a person who maybe shouldn't be there or the person who possibly stole something," his dad said.

The hotel where the cell phone incident took place said they were deeply disheartened by what happened, but says the manager promptly called police regarding the woman's conduct. Still, they admit more could have been done to deescalate the dispute.


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