Another day, another incident of a white person calling the police on a Black person for dubious reasons. Following the trend of giving these instigators a derisive nickname like BBQ Becky and Permit Patty, a New York woman who accused a Black 9-year-old of touching her butt is being dubbed “Cornerstore Caroline.”
The woman, who has been identified as Teresa Klein, 53, called police after claiming that a 9-year-old Black boy touched her behind in a Brooklyn deli. A Flatbush resident named Jason Littlejohn recorded the commotion outside the establishment, and was the first to dub the woman with the “Cornerstore Caroline” moniker.
“I was just sexually assaulted by a child,” Klein says on the video as she said she was on the phone with police. The 9-year-old boy, who was accompanied by his mother and another child, can be seen bursting into tears as more people began asking Klein about the incident. “The son grabbed my ass and she decided to yell at me,” Klein continued, referencing the mother.
Klein accused the mother of threatening her in person and later in a voicemail, according to a PIX 11 News report. Klein can clearly be seen claiming to be a police officer to the mother, but later denied she ever said that.
White woman falsely accuses 9-year-old black boy of sex assault at Brooklyn deli.
— Andrew Ramos (@AndrewRamosTV) October 12, 2018
A security camera video of the supposed incident appears to clear the young boy of any wrongdoing, showing Klein at the counter while he walks by. The boy’s right hand is full, but by turning a little to his left, his large backpack can be seen potentially brushing up against Klein, although the boy doesn’t seem to register the fact.
Klein returned to the store Friday to buy cigarettes, according to the New York Times, and was then prompted by a reporter to view the footage from Wednesday evening.
Days after a white woman #cornerstorecaroline accused a black child of touching her, she returned to the deli where the incident happened to watch surveillance @news12bk #brooklyn #flatbush pic.twitter.com/52o3KGsNAY
— Justine Miller (@JustineIMiller) October 12, 2018
Speaking to a television reporter, Klein later apologized to the boy. “Young man, I don’t know your name, but I’m sorry,” she said. Klein continued to deny that she acted out of any sort of racial bigotry.
“The little kid thought he was going to go to jail for something he didn’t do,” Littlejohn said in an interview with the New York Times. “I thought it was someone calling police for unnecessary reasons, especially on a child.”
Social media erupted in response to “Cornerstore Caroline,” some even calling it a modern Emmett Till incident. Till was a 14-year-old Black boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being falsely accused of whistling at a white woman.
Wow. I just saw the #CornerstoneCaroline video. I…I…if rmthere wasn’t video that little boy could’ve been arrested over some shit he didn’t even comprehend. Hearing him cry…that woman…holy shit.
— Elon James White (@elonjames) October 13, 2018
This story has been updated for clarity and context.