Twitter's new Community Notes function, however, came into play when users started pointing out the absolute absurdity of the story. The question among people who actually know how to think began to be why a pregnant nurse, exhausted after a 12-hour shift at a Bellvue Hospital, would try to steal a bicycle from a group of young men.
Meanwhile, vitriol, anger, hatred, racial slurs, were all slung at this woman. She was put on leave from her job despite there being no indication, other than the video, that she had done anything to warrant a suspension.
The video was used as a cry of racism, with NBC writing "many social media users pointing out the risk placed on the young [b]lack men being accused of wrongdoing in situations involving white women."
The brief video, which shows the nurse sitting on the bike while a man laughs at her and tries to take it from her, only shows a portion of the alleged incident, and it shows the diminutive pregnant woman sitting on the bike.
A man in a t-shirt that reads "childish" keeps his hand on the bike, while he and his friends laugh and say "you're not getting the bike." Later, the nurse's attorneys said that she paid for the bike, removed it from the locking mechanism, and got on it, only to have the young men then demand it from her.
The video went viral, with many, including notorious race-baiting attorney Ben Crump, suggesting that this pregnant nurse would leave work after a 12-hour shift and try to steal Citi-bike from a group of young men though there were likely other bikes available for rent on the rack. Another available bike can be seen in the video.
Crump claimed that the viral video showed that the group of young men were endangered by a pregnant woman at whom they were laughing. The woman called for help, but in typical New York fashion, people looked on, but did not get involved. New Yorkers would rather watch someone be robbed than be called racist.
A report from NBC News, with a newscaster speaking over the video, proclaims that the nurse is "calling for help even though she doesn't appear to be in danger." At that moment in the video, one of the men, who is laughing at her, reaches across her, touching her pregnant stomach in the process.
The narrative that was spun about this viral moment was that the man who is seen trying to take the bike from the nurse "just rented that bike." The woman ends up in tears when a colleague comes over and asks what happened, and social media users accused her of "weaponizing" her "white woman's tears."
She gets off the bike, and moves away. The man said he had paid for it, but only days later, the nurse's attorneys showed her receipts, proving that she had rented the bike herself.
Sarah Comrie, who now has a fundraiser set up on the liberal GoFundMe, had receipts that showed that the number of the bike she was using matched the number of the bike she had rented using the app. The receipts also show that she then canceled that ride, and booked another one moments later.
The whole thing, it appears, had been a set up by the young men who toyed with the nurse, laughing, accusing her of doing the very same thing–stealing a bike from someone who had already paid for it–that they were doing to her.
Comrie was put on leave after the viral video and the smears that came along with it. She was called a Karen, that slur used for white women who are seen to be a racist nuisance. On social media, some even called her "a suspected white supremacist."
This tweet got hit with Community Notes as well.
"So a group of black teens stole a bike from a pregnant nurse," Matt Walsh countered, "who was just getting off a 12 hour shift. The teens filmed it, posted the video without context, and legions of brain dead morons on Twitter took the side of the thieves and called the woman a 'Karen' for getting upset."
While NBC says the man didn't touch Comrie, the video shows that he did, keeping his hands on the bike even as he knows that the pregnant woman is not trying to steal from him.
Comrie's attorney states that "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. 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."
"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 attorney said. "The fact anyone would treat another person like this is tragic, especially a visibly pregnant woman."
Comrie's story was compared to the story of Amy Cooper, dubbed the "Central Park Karen," a woman who was walking her dog in Central Park on May 25, 2020, the morning of the day that George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis, and exactly 10 weeks into the pandemic-inspired shutdowns in New York City.
Cooper was accused of trying to get a black man killed by calling 911 after he tried to lure her unleashed dog away from her with dog treats. He demanded she leash her dog. She demanded he leave her alone. The entire incident spiraled, where she lost her job, the pet shelter from which she'd adopted her dog demanded she return the creature, and the entire city determined that she was racist.
Later, other dog walkers came forward to say that this bird watcher, also named Cooper, had done the same thing to them. These dog walkers included black New Yorkers who'd made the same complaints about the man who weaponized treats to force people to leash their dogs so they would not scare away the birds he was trying to watch.
Comrie's story, and the viral video that spawned it, does not show what NBC, Crump, and so many other claimed. It does not show a white woman "weaponizing" her tears. Instead, it shows a group of young men empowered by a cultural climate that rewards victimization and looks for ways to use accusations of racism to undermine the social fabric and, in this case, make off with a stolen bike.
Perhaps Community Notes will save Cromie from the same cruel fate that was meted out to Amy Cooper.