The lawyer for a Manhattan hospital worker accused of taking a Citi Bike from a young black man — who claimed that he paid for the two-wheeler — provided receipts that he says show she was the one who purchased the ride at the centre of the viral incident.
The Bellevue Hospital employee — who was branded a “Karen” on social media afterwards — rented the bike first, lawyer Justin Marino said in a statement to the NY Post on Wednesday.
He also provided two Citi Bike receipts from May 12, which were timestamped just minutes apart.
The first receipt reviewed by The Post shows the bike being taken out before it was re-locked one minute later, which Mr Marino said is the bike seen in the video.
The second receipt shows another bike being taken out a minute later from the same docking station and was the bike Mr Marino said his client used to get home after being “heckled and pressured to find a new bike” by the group.
The hospital employee, who Mr Marino says is a six-months-pregnant physician assistant, was placed on leave by NYC Health + Hospitals this week after her heated encounter with the men emerged online on Saturday and has been viewed tens of millions of times.
Mr Marino called the caught-on-tape interaction “incomplete” and lacking facts.
He said after the health care worker wrapped up her 12-hour shift, she got on an available bike, “which no individuals were on or touching”, and paid for it through the Citi Bike app on her phone.
As she backed it up from the docking station, a group of five people approached her and claimed the bike was theirs, he said.
“One or more individuals in that group physically pushed her bike (with her on it) back into the docking station, causing it to re-lock,” Mr Marino said in the written statement.
One of the individuals then covered the bike’s QR code, stopping her from paying for it again so she could leave, Mr Marino said.
“In blocking the QR code, this individual’s arm was touching my client’s pregnant stomach, a condition of which she had made them aware,” he added.
“Throughout this time and for the remainder of the video, roughly five individuals were telling her to get off the bike and heckling her. The fact anyone would treat another person like this is tragic, especially a visibly pregnant woman.”
The roughly 90-second clip that begins mid-confrontation shows the woman dressed in hospital-branded scrubs screaming for help as she tugs at the bike.
“Help! Help me! Please, help me,” she yells.
The young man kept his grip on the bike’s handlebars and repeatedly told the woman that he already paid to use that particular bike and it wasn’t hers.
“Get off me! Get off me, you’re hurting my foetus,” the woman then shouted as she pushed the man away.
“I’m not touching you! You’re putting your stomach on my hand,” the man replied.
Halfway through the clip, the hospital worker appears to start crying as another man in the same scrubs approached the melee to see what was going on.
The young man again claimed to the woman the bike was on his account and asked her to move before she rented another bike on the advice of her colleague.
Some social media users called the interaction racist while others compared the situation to when Amy Cooper called the police on a black birdwatcher in 2020 and lost her job over it.
The NYPD said it did not receive any 911 calls over this incident.
Mr Marino said his client is a dedicated hospital worker who has treated “literally thousands of New York City residents of all backgrounds/ethnicities”.
“Simply, her entire life has been focused on helping others, irrespective of their background,” Mr Marino said.
NYC Health + Hospitals called the video “disturbing” when announcing she was placed on leave Tuesday. The hospital system said she would remain on leave pending a review of the incident.
Mr Marino declined to comment on anything tied to his client’s employment on Wednesday.
NYC Health + Hospitals did not immediately return a request for a comment on Wednesday.
This article originally appeared on NY Post and was reproduced with permission