A minor altercation in Manhattan, New York, about two weeks ago has been featured prominently in the national media.
The dispute centered on the rental of an electric bike but has devolved into charges of racism. On Tuesday, the family of one of the teens involved in the altercation reiterated their side of the story.
The confrontation began when Sarah Comrie, a white pregnant physician assistant, rented an e-bike to travel back to her home after her 12-hour shift.
After paying for the rental and removing the bike from its docking bay, Comrie reports she was confronted by a 17-year-old known as Michael and several of his friends.
Michael is black. Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney, made the racial identity of both Michael and Comrie an issue by tweeting that a “White woman…attempted to steal…a bike from a young Black man in NYC.”
Crump’s Tweet garnered more than four million views before the threat of a slander suit led him to remove the post.
The New York Post published a clip of the heated May 12 encounter.
Michael recently told NewsOne that after riding the new e-bike that day, he docked it at Kips Bay station, located near the hospital where Comrie is employed. Comrie reports getting off work at about 7 p.m. and rented the e-bike at 7:24 p.m., five minutes after the teen docked it.
Michael recalled that he had ridden the e-bike from Harlem and had docked the bike to save on charges but intended to ride the bike home.
Michael’s older sister explained, “Regular Citi Bike riders do this. The price goes up after 45 minutes for everyone, so people routinely ride their bikes, dock their bikes, ride their bikes and dock their bikes again.”
Comrie, who is six months pregnant, reports that she rented an available e-bike and was proceeding to go home when Michael stopped her by placing his hands on the bike’s handlebars.
Michael reports that he was resting on the bike that was in the docking bay when Comrie attempted to rent it via her phone app, reportedly reaching over him to scan the code on the bike’s handlebars.
Comrie argues that no one was near the bike when she rented it and that when confronted by Michael, she told him the bike was now signed out in her name.
The teen reported that he politely asked Comrie if she would “help him out,” since he was miles from home, but she declined. Comrie then reportedly asked him if he would “help out a pregnant woman,” but he reiterated he needed the bike to get home.
Michael reports that the pregnant Comrie then pushed her way through four teens and removed the bike from the docking station.
Michael and four friends proceeded to push the bike, with Comrie on it, back into the docking bay so she could not leave.
After the bike was back in the docking station, Michael reportedly attempted to reserve the bike via his phone app.
Video shows the situation escalated when Comrie took Michael’s phone to stop the rental process as the teens heckled Comrie.
Michael’s mother told the Post: “That lady asked my boy for his bike, and he said no,” the teen’s mother told the outlet. “Why couldn’t she just go and get a different bike?”
Comrie’s attorney said, “The fact anyone would treat another person like this is tragic, especially a visibly pregnant woman.” Comrie’s attorney told Fox News that his client has “dedicated her career to helping others, regardless of background.”
Comrie’s employer placed the physician assistant on leave pending a review.
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