Racial tensions

9-year-old boy who was falsely accused of sexual assault by woman speaks out

Jeremiah Harvey. (YouTube / ABC News)

A young black boy who had police called on him after a white woman falsely claimed he groped her at a convenience store — video of which went viral online — said that the incident had left him in tears, fearful that he or his mother would be taken away by police. His accuser, Teresa Klein, has since apologized after seeing surveillance video that showed that 9-year-old Jeremiah Harvey’s backpack accidentally brushed up against her backside while she was bent over. She denied racial motivation in calling police on the child, claiming that her decision to call police came in wake of aggressive behavior from the boy’s mother, Someko Bellille, who she said threatened her. But a long history of young black people being falsely accused of sexual assault by white women — which led to a lynching in the infamous case of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 — has left Bellille and many black rights activists skeptical that the boy’s race wasn’t a factor in her decision to report.

Klein, who quickly became known as “Cornerstone Caroline” on social media, “made it about race right away,” said Bellille in an interview held together with her son on Good Morning America on Friday.

“She’s on the phone and she’s saying that I’m a white woman, that I’m standing in front of this deli … stating that this black mom and her two black kids are out here and that the son sexually assaulted me,” she recalled. “She said, ‘black child, black mother and white woman.’”

“It was devastating for him because even after walking away he was pointing to, you know, patrol cars on Flatbush Avenue and saying, ‘Mommy, are they here to take you away from us?'” she added. “To be having a conversation with your son about sexual assault at the age of 9 — I never thought I’d be having this conversation.”

When Jeremiah initially spoke out about the incident at a community meeting in Brooklyn earlier this week, Jeremiah broke into tears, saying, “I don’t forgive this woman, and she needs help.” Speaking to Good Morning America on Friday, the youngster said that the woman’s accusation was still consuming him, but that he had decided that forgiving her was the right thing to do.

“It’s still hard because lately on my mind, like, I can’t think nothing but this. I felt humiliated because of the way she was acting,” he said. “Friendship is the key, it changed my whole mind of accepting the apology that she gave me.”

Watch video of Jeremiah and Bellille’s interview with GMA below.

Read the full story at Good Morning America.

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