The attorney for Sarah Comrie — a white pregnant woman vilified on social media as a racist over a viral video showing a bike rental dispute between her and a black man with his friends in New York City — created a Twitter account to track defamatory remarks about his client.
Comrie, a physician’s assistant at Bellevue Hospital, encountered a man on May 12 who claimed he paid for a Citi Bike that she said she had rented first. Part of the confrontation went viral on social media with more than 40 million views, which has since resulted in Comrie keeping out of the public eye, receiving death threats, and NYC Health + Hospitals placing her on leave after some people branded her a “Karen.”
Attorney Justin Marino, who is representing Comrie, has since produced receipts he says prove his client paid for the bike, which contradicts the widely circulated claim that she “stole” it from the man. Marino, who has pledged to file defamation lawsuits, joined Twitter to help build such cases against those who he says unfairly smeared his client.
“I created this account so individuals can tag me as to defamatory statements/videos made against Ms. Comrie,” Marino said. “I’m looking for comments labeling Ms. Comrie a: 1) Karen; 2) racist; and/or 3) thief. Also, videos referencing a third party doing the foreging (sic) is also actionable.”
I created this account so individuals can tag me as to defamatory statements/videos made against Ms. Comrie. I'm looking for comments labeling Ms. Comrie a: 1) Karen; 2) racist; and/or 3) thief. Also, videos referencing a third party doing the foreging is also actionable.
— Justin Marino (@AttorneyJMarino) May 21, 2023
An account under the moniker “Leftism” replied to Marino’s tweet with a thread showing a person accused of initially doxxing Comrie and her husband’s social media accounts.
This is the person who originally doxxed her.https://t.co/CHhq6EtgBw
— Leftism (@LeftismForU) May 21, 2023
Lawyer Ben Crump, who has been involved in some of the most controversial racial cases in recent history, claimed in a now-deleted tweet that Comrie had tried to “steal” the bike.
“This is unacceptable! A white woman was caught on camera attempting to STEAL a Citi Bike from a young Black man in NYC,” Crump tweeted. “She grossly tried to weaponize her tears to paint this man as a threat. This is EXACTLY the type of behavior that has endangered so many Black men in the past!”
According to Marino, the NYC healthcare professional had finished a 12-hour shift when she paid for the bike and removed it from its docking station, only to have the group approach her with one holding onto the handlebars, insisting it was his. One man allegedly pushed the bike back into its docking station, prompting the woman to call for help, Marino told The New York Post, adding that one of the men covered the bike’s QR code so the woman could not pay for it again.
“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,” the attorney continued. “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.”
Marino said he has shown media outlets two timestamped Citi Bike receipts only minutes apart; the first, he said, represented the contested bike, while the second was for another bike the woman rented to get home, and it showed the 25-minute ride she took to get there.
Despite the limited context shown in the video, many on social media and some media outlets quickly ran with the framing that Comrie had tried to steal the bike from the black man.
“What’s at play is what social media did to this woman who’s literally a hero, and has done nothing but help people and within one minute effectively tries to ruin her life,” he told Fox News.