Published 12:44 PM EDT Oct 13, 2018
A woman, saying she was groped by a young boy at a Brooklyn, New York deli, appeared to call 911 in a racially-charged viral video captured Wednesday evening. The woman later apologized after being confronted with security footage showing the boy had accidentally grazed her.
A video of the incident has been watched more than 5 million times and outraged viewers have dubbed the woman "Cornerstore Caroline,” the latest in a line of nicknames designed to shame people involved in alleged racial profiling incidents.
The video shows young children crying as the woman talks into the cellphone: "I was just sexually assaulted by a child," she said on the video captured by Jason Littlejohn, who lives nearby the market.
Although the woman — identified by PIX 11 as Teresa Klein — claims to be on the phone with 911, no police immediately respond to the call. In the video and in a subsequent interview with the station, she alleges the mother of the children escalated the situation. Klein said the boy grabbed her buttocks.
Many, including Klein herself, have noted the appearance of racial profiling: "White lady calling ... the cops on a black lady, I get it," she says to an increasingly hostile crowd gathered around her as she talks on the phone, purportedly to a 911 operator.
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Klein has denied a racial motivation for the accusation or the alleged 911 call, the New York Times reports.
On Friday, Klein was confronted by her neighbors and the media in the deli. She watched surveillance video of the incident as a jeering crowd gathered.
Asked what she saw on the video, Klein responded: "The child accidentally (brushed me) ... Young man, I don't know your name, but I'm sorry."
Littlejohn, who captured the video, said he's haunted by the memory of the crying child: “I was really disgusted by the situation,” he told USA TODAY on Friday. He said the boy was crying genuine tears of hurt and fear, and Klein "just didn’t care."
Klein, not the mother, escalated the situaiton Littlejohn said. While both women yelled, he said the mother acted in defense of her child.