A woman admits that she hit a black teen who was accused of stealing her cell phone by mistake.
After Miya Ponsetto was caught on video attacking a black teenager she thought had stolen her phone, she had a question for the journalist who was interviewing her.
“How is one girl accusing a man of having a cell phone a crime?” He asked Gayle King, the host of CBS Mornings.
If you think someone stole your phone and then attacked you because of it, then you’re guilty of a crime, says Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr. The 23-year-old woman from California pleaded guilty on Monday to unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a hate crime for making up the story. In Ponsetto’s plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop a lot of other charges and let her plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge if she stays out of trouble for two years. If she doesn’t, Ponsetto could spend up to four years in a New York state prison if she doesn’t.
A person in New York can be charged with second-degree unlawful imprisonment if they move a person from one place to another, or keep them in a certain place. As with adults, when someone is younger than 16, the law says they can’t use physical force, intimidation, or deception. It also says they can’t “by any means whatsoever, including acquiescence.”
People call her “SoHo Karen,” but she was caught on video at the Arlo hotel in New York City saying that a Black teenager, Keyon Harrold Jr., stole her phone in December 2019. Her face is shown on the video. She is seen yelling at the teenager that she won’t let him leave. It was then that she chased him down and pinned him to the ground. In a few minutes, a driver for Uber came and got Ponsetto’s phone, which she had left in his car, and returned it to her.
The district attorney said that Ponsetto’s actions were “outrageous.”
Black man: “I have been racially profiled countless times in my life, and I feel for the young man who was racially profiled in this case.” “This plea ensures that Ms. Ponsetto is held accountable by addressing the root causes of her behavior and making sure this kind of behavior doesn’t happen again.”
Ponsetto and her lawyer, Paul D’Emilia, didn’t answer questions from the Washington Post sent Monday night. Even so, D’Emilia said the “unfortunate misunderstanding” was getting closer to being resolved. He and his client were happy that it was getting closer to being resolved. In a statement, Ponsetto hopes that Harrold will accept her “regrets and apology for her behavior that evening, and that all of us can move forward together.”
Ponsetto already has, and D’Emilia added to it. “Miya Ponsetto has been living a good life since this incident with the young man about a year and a half ago,” says the teacher.
But her apology wasn’t taken into account. Jazz musician Keyon Harrold Sr. told the New York Times that Ponsetto’s words did not go far enough because his son was “wrongfully and aggressively attacked” in a “unprovoked attack.” When she says sorry, he says it “minimizes the trauma.”
It was in March 2021 that Harrold sued Ponsetto, the Arlo SoHo hotel, and a manager who worked at the hotel on December 26, 2020, when the attack took place. When Harrold sued, he said that the manager had helped Ponsetto racially profile and falsely accuse his son. Immediately after the attack, Arlo Hotels did not respond to a request for comment from The Post. The hotel apologized and said that the manager didn’t do enough to “de-escalate the dispute,” the newspaper reported at the time.
He said the plea deal with Ponsetto was “highly disappointing” because it likely means she won’t go to jail. Ben Crump, a lawyer for Harrold Jr., told NBC News that the deal was “very disappointing.”
In order to change the culture, he said, “We need to hold people accountable for their outrageously bad behavior.”
Following the attack on the teenager, police say that Ponsetto left the hotel. 112 weeks after the New York Police Department tried to pull her over, sheriff’s deputies in California tried to do the same thing with warrants from the NYPD. Ponsetto wouldn’t stop until she got home. She didn’t get out of her car when she got there because she was told she was going to be arrested.
In an interview with King, Ponsetto said she was sorry for what she did to Harrold and that she “could have done things a different way.” As for the crime: She said that it wasn’t a crime, and that she thinks she’s “super sweet.”
: “I don’t think that’s who I am. I don’t think this one mistake is what makes me me.