Jason Littlejohn(NEW YORK) — A community meeting was called Monday to address the firestorm that erupted in one Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood after a white woman claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a 9-year-old black boy as she shopped in a corner store.
On Wednesday, video taken by a resident captured Teresa Klein apparently on the phone with a 911 operator after she claimed the child had grabbed her butt inside the store.
"That's right. Her son grabbed my a–," Klein could be heard saying on her cellphone. "And, she [the mother] decided to yell at me. There are security cameras in this bodega."
The young boy and his sister, dressed in school uniforms and carrying shopping bags, could be seen and heard crying and calling for their mother as she and other customers and residents tried to address Klein's accusations.
"'Cornerstore Caroline,' that's what that is," one person could be heard saying on the video. "Don't cry, little man."
Klein also claimed that she called the police because the child’s mother was aggressive.
"I felt someone grab my a–. I said, 'Don't touch my a–.' The woman flew at me, claimed she was a police officer, threatened to arrest me and I called 911," Klein told ABC affiliate WABC-TV. On Friday, Klein returned to the store, as residents and local media stood by, to finally watch the surveillance video. Footage from inside the store showed the boy's book bag grazing Klein's butt. His hands, which did not touch her, were in plain sight on surveillance video.
Klein later apologized on video to the boy after seeing the footage. The child and his family have not yet been identified.
"Young man, I don't know your name but I'm sorry," she said.
The hashtag "Cornerstore Caroline" lit up on social media almost immediately after a video of Klein watching the surveillance footage was released. The video was taken by a man named Jason Littlejohn, who posted it Facebook.
Littlejohn encouraged people to "make this go viral" in his post. As of Monday, the video had been viewed nearly 8 million times.
"She basically said I'm calling the cops on you. She didn't say the mom or anybody else. She said I'm calling the cops on you and that poor, little boy, man. Wherever he is, whoever he is, hopefully there is millions of people that, they want to help him out," Littlejohn told WABC-TV.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams planned a community meeting at the store about the incident for Monday.
"We're definitely going to make a movement out here," Littlejohn said in a Facebook post Sunday. "We're going to stop people — I will say, people — from dialing 911 unnecessarily…It's gotta stop, people…We will not let this continue to happen."
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