A woman who went viral last week for calling the police on a nine-year-old for ‘touching her bum’ has been proven wrong by surveillance footage.
Teresa Klein was dubbed ‘Cornerstone Caroline’ immediately after the footage was posted online, drawing reference to the similarities between this incident and others in which white women have called the police on black people in questionable circumstances (see also Permit Patty and Barbeque Becky).
She claimed the child, who was with his mother and younger sister, touched her bum whist they were inside a convenience store.
However, the surveillance footage from the store proves that this was not the case:
The footage clearly shows Klein approach the counter of the store, before bending over it as if looking for something.
As she does this, the boy walks past with his family. He doesn’t even appear to see Klein, facing the other way with something in his hand. His backpack then brushes against her as he exits the store.
The whole encounter lasts approximately five seconds and Klein can then be seen turning around to look at the family, before she points at them and clearly shouts after them, as the little girl turns to look at her.
Klein then starts to gesture towards her bum, hitting it and making motions with her hand. At this point, the boy’s mother comes back into the store and the two begin arguing.
The little boy can be seen in the background, looking confused as to what is happening. Klein can then be seen getting her phone out and the rest, as they say, is history.
In case you haven’t seen the footage posted by Facebook user Jason Stovetop Littlejohn which went viral last week on Wednesday October 10, Klein claimed the little boy had ‘sexually assaulted’ her and phoned the police on the family.
She made reference to the issue of race, saying:
White lady calling the cops on a black lady, I get it. Yeah, they’re video-taping.
Immediately, passers-by came to the boy’s defence and demanded that she hang up the phone and apologise. Throughout the video, the little boy can be heard crying and shouting for his ‘mummy’.
Klein kept repeating that the nine-year-old had ‘touched her ass’ and refused to hang up on several occasions, angering the people who had gathered around.
The video quickly went viral and had been viewed more than 7 million times at the time of writing (October 15), with many commenting on how angered they were by Klein’s behaviour.
A deli worker told the New York Post:
He was walking out with his mom and accidentally brushed up against her. His mother was right behind him.
Klein has since returned to the store to watch the surveillance footage with KSN News, who documented her response.
She apologised for her actions, saying:
I was wrong. Young man, I don’t know your name, but I’m sorry.
However, this wasn’t enough for some members of the community who also went to the store to witness and record her response when she saw the video.
The original poster of the viral video, Jason Stovetop Littlejohn, was one of many who went along to film her reaction.
You can watch it below:
#CornerstoreCaroline looking at the Surveillance video
Posted by Jason Stovetop Littlejohn on Friday, 12 October 2018
Throughout the video, tensions are extremely high and people can be heard screaming at Klein. She ignores everyone, focusing her attention solely on the journalist in front of her.
The crowd can be heard cheering when the surveillance footage proves the boy’s innocence, with people calling Klein a liar. When she eventually apologises, someone can be heard shouting: ‘That’s all we get? Apologies don’t solve people’s problems’.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).