A New York City healthcare employee has been placed on leave while she's under investigation after a viral video showed her fake crying and screaming for help as she attempted to take a Citi bike from a black teenager who had the bike reserved.
Sarah Jane Comrie, an employee of NYC Health + Hospitals / Bellevue in New York City, was filmed tussling with a black boy who appears to be in his teens over the bike in the video, which is being widely circulated on social media.
'This is Not Your Bike'
The clip starts off with Comrie repeatedly screaming for help. "Please help me!" she yells before the teen points out to her, "this is not your bike."
"Get off me!" exclaims Comrie, who continues to struggle with the teen over the bike, before attempting snatching the teen's phone away.
"You're hurting my fetus. You're hurting my unborn child," she is heard saying.
The bike had apparently already been paid for by the young man, who continued to hold on to a portion of the handlebars. All the while, the woman continued to attempt to straddle the bike before bursting into a fake cry in an attempt to gain sympathy from onlookers. However, as noted by the person behind the camera, she never actually shed a tear.
When a white male dressed in similar scrubs suggested that she be allowed to take the bike, the young man explained that it was already associated with his account.
"This is my bike. It's on my account!" the teen reiterates.
It wasn't until the man said she should take another available bike that Comrie finally calmed down and began to set up the nearby bike for use, with her tears evaporating miraculously.
Watch the video below:
The teenager refused to let Comrie take the bike as the person who reserved the bike is liable for penalties if the bike is not returned within the stipulated time, including $1,200 loss or stolen bike fee.
After the video went viral, popular TikToker @thatdaneshguy managed to identify Comrie as the woman in the video, prompting social media users to reach out to Bellevue Hospitals calling for her sacking.
"A lady tried to use her tears to make something bad happen, but it didn't work so she pretended it never happened," wrote one user.
"Dear @NYCHealthSystem: This is how Black man get killed by so-called well-meaning passersby or even NYPD. Your employee is a violent racist. As someone who has suffered physically and mentally at the hands of racist health professionals, I expect you to remedy this," commented another.
Bellevue Hospitals Says Its 'Reviewing the Incident'
The hospital issued the following statement in the wake of the backlash:
"We have recently become aware of an incident that occurred off campus over the weekend and appears to involve one of our employees. We are sorry this happened and we are reviewing the incident."
"NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue is committed to providing the highest quality of care to all New Yorkers with dignity, cultural sensitivity and compassion."
The hospital released a follow-up statement on Tuesday, May 16, calling the video "disturbing" before adding that Comrie has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the review.
UPDATE: Comrie's Lawyer Claims She Had Receipts for Reserving Bike
Days after the video went viral, Comrie's lawyer insists she paid for the Citi Bike at the center of the controversy. Her lawyer, Justin Marino, provided the New York Post with receipts that, he says, proves his client was in the rightânot the man she's being accused of trying to stealing the bike from.
The first receipts, according to the Post, show the woman renting the first bike that she was accused of stealing in the video, then re-locking it about a minute later. The second receipt shows her renting another bike that she eventually rode home after being "heckled and pressured to find a new bike" by bystanders, Marino said. He also told the Post that the viral social media clip doesn't at all tell the full story. "The fact anyone would treat another person like this tragic, especially a visibly pregnant woman," he said of his client.