A white woman set off a firestorm in a Brooklyn community and on social media after she called 911 on a black boy at a bodega, claiming he grabbed her butt -- only for surveillance video to show that he never touched her.
The woman, identified by the New York Post as Teresa Klein, was buying cat litter inside Sahari Deli Market in Flatbush Wednesday when the boy, wearing a school uniform and backpack, walked past her with his mother and younger sister, witnesses say and video shows. His backpack appeared to brush against Klein's backside.
Klein whips her head around and begins shouting in the direction of the exiting family, surveillance video shows. She makes crude gestures at them, and the mother is seen walking back and arguing with her.
Joni Torian, a customer who witnessed the dispute, told the Post, "The mother was right behind him when she says he grabbed her very flat behind. Ain't no mama gonna let her child sexually assault a woman. [Klein] started yelling, 'Miss, you need to watch your son, he just grabbed my ass.' It was kind of funny at first, but then she was saying, 'I will call the cops.'"
The fight is then taken outside the store, where witnesses began recording the confrontation. In one video posted to Facebook, Klein is seen getting on her phone and saying, "I'm going to call the cops right now" -- which sends the boy and his little sister into tears.
"Mommy!" the little girl bursts out wailing as she clings to her mother's leg.
Klein is heard saying sarcastically into the phone, as incredulous bystanders watch, "White woman calling the cops on a black lady, I get it."
"The son grabbed my a--, and she's decided to yell at me," she tells 911 on the phone.
The man filming the encounter shouts at Klein, "Cornerstore Caroline!" -- a reference to the meme mocking white women who call 911 to report what they consider suspicious activity by black people ("Barbecue Becky," "Permit Patty").
"That's Cornerstore Caroline! We got a new one!" the man filming proclaims.
Another passerby shouts at Klein, "Who would want to touch your flat a--? Nobody wants to touch your flat a--!"
Klein continues speaking into the phone, saying, "I've been sexually assaulted by a child."
She tells the 911 operator that she'll be going home to meet officers to file a report -- she gives a Prospect Park address -- and after she hangs up, she waves at the man filming and tells him, "Now why don't you upload that to World Star?"
Another woman confronts her and asks her if she "seriously called the police on a child."
"Go away," that other woman tells Klein.
Klein, who tells the other woman she's a police officer, replies, "No, white lady, I will not."
She adds, sarcastically, "One white girl to another, yeah, make the point to the entire audience," gesturing at the bystanders, who happen to be black.
The cellphone video posted to Facebook Wednesday had nearly 5 million views by Friday, and more than 24,000 comments from outraged viewers.
"Calling 911 for 'her' emergency, glad she didn't die from him 'grabbing' her a--," wrote one person.
Many were upset to see the boy and girl in distress: "My heart hurt for those kids, especially the boy," another wrote.
Klein returned to the deli Friday night amid the backlash to watch the surveillance video alongside local media and outraged neighbors in the community.
"The child accidentally brushed against me," she admitted after watching the video.
"Young man, I don't know your name, but I'm sorry," she said.
But the apology didn't appease angry customers gathered to watch her reaction: "It's always 'sorry,'" one man shouted. "'Sorry' don't f---ing change anything. What's 'sorry' gonna do for the kid?"
It seemed to touch off even more emotional backlash among other black men inside the store.
"Apology don't solve people's problems, man," one man said. "If it was me, I would have been incarcerated by now."