‘SoHo Karen’ pleads not guilty to alleged racial profiling in Manhattan cellphone confrontation


MANHATTAN — The woman who allegedly confronted a teenage boy, demanded his phone, falsely accused him of stealing it and tackled him in a Manhattan hotel pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges against her in court on Wednesday.

Miya Ponsetto was indicted on charges of unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a hate crime, aggravated harassment in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child.

She’s also been sued by the family of the then 14-year-old boy.

The boy’s father — jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold — captured the Dec. 26, 2020 Arlo Hotel incident on video. The video shows Ponsetto demand that the boy prove to her that his cellphone is not hers. Surveillance video also shows Ponsetto physically attack the teen.

Harrold has insisted that he and his son, both of whom are Black, were racially profiled by Ponsetto.

“Our son’s security and safety, it matters,” Kat Rodriguez, the teen’s mother, said.

Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton joined the family and Ben Crump, their attorney, on Wednesday.

“Hate is in the actions and this, today, established a legal precedent that we needed in the city of New York,” he said about the charges against Ponsetto.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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