NEW YORK – A 22-year-old California woman who wrongly accused a Black teenager of stealing her phone and tackled him at a New York City hotel in a widely seen video was charged after returning to the city on Saturday.
Miya Ponsetto was charged with attempted robbery, grand larceny, acting in a manner injurious to a child and two counts of attempted assault, according to city police. NYPD detectives flew to California on Thursday with a warrant for the Piru resident's arrest.
Ponsetto's confrontation with 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. on Dec. 26 at Manhattan’s Arlo Hotel was recorded and posted online by his father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold. The video shows an agitated woman demanding the teenager’s phone, claiming he stole it. The phone was found soon afterward in an Uber.
Security video released by city police shows Ponsetto frantically grabbing at the teenager as he tried to get away from her through the hotel’s front door.
The charges follow more than a week of intense media coverage of the hotel lobby encounter and demands by the teen’s family and activists that she face criminal charges.
Ponsetto apologized but defended herself in a television interview conducted before she was arrested in California.
“I don’t feel that that is who I am as a person. I don’t feel like this one mistake does define me,” she said in a “CBS This Morning” interview that aired Friday. “But I do sincerely from the bottom of my heart apologize that if I made the son feel as if I assaulted him or if I hurt his feelings or the father’s feelings.”
At her arraignment Saturday, the judge gave Ponsetto supervised release and granted orders of protection in favor of the victims, according to prosecutors.