The parents of a Black teen falsely accused of stealing a white woman's phone say they dreaded the idea of having to tell him his race might've been the trigger ... but they did.
Jazz musician Keyon Harrold and his wife, Kat, joined us Monday on 'TMZ Live' after a disturbing episode at the Arlo Hotel in NYC this weekend ... where Keyon captured what many might consider a "Karen" insisting his 14-year-old had stolen her misplaced phone ... which was NOT true.
After she lunged at the boy and demanded a manager force him to give her his phone ... Keyon says her device was eventually returned by an Uber driver, who'd found it in his car. So, she was wrong after all -- and Keyon, at the time, said nobody offered an apology.
Fast-forward a couple days ... and it's clear the family is still rattled by an incident they say was likely fueled by racism. Keyon says he honestly doesn't know why the woman assumed his son, of all people, had her phone ... explaining he was dumbfounded in the moment.
The boy's mother, Kat, detailed the excruciating conversation she had after the fact when her son asked why he might've been singled out ... and her answering with the fact that his skin color possibly had something to do with it. It's gut-wrenching hearing her break it down.
We also talked to attorney Ben Crump -- who's repping Keyon and co. -- and he made his expectations clear ... he wants the woman criminally charged and a civil rights investigation into the matter. He tells us flatly ... this wouldn't have happened to a white person.