NEW YORK CITY — Police charged a woman caught on video falsely accusing a Black teen of stealing her cellphone and tackling him in the lobby of a New York City hotel with attempted assault and other crimes Saturday, according to the NYPD.
Miya Ponsetto, 22, was charged with attempted robbery, grand larceny, two counts of attempted assault and acting in a manner injurious to a child, police said.
Ponsetto was arrested Thursday in California and appeared for hearing Friday during which she agreed to be extradited to New York. She was in NYPD custody Saturday morning.
NYPD detectives flew out to California earlier this week with a warrant for Ponsetto’s arrest following days of intense media coverage of the fracas at the hotel and demands by the teen’s family that the woman face criminal charges.
According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, deputies tried to pull Ponsetto over for a traffic stop near her Simi Valley home Thursday, but she did not stop until reaching her residence, where she refused to get out of the car.
Deputies then had to physically pull Ponsetto from the vehicle, officials said. TMZ reported that amid the struggle, she attempted to slam the car door on a deputy’s leg.
Ponsetto was arrested for a fugitive warrant and jailed in Ventura County without bail.
An attorney for Ponsetto said her client is “emotionally unwell” and remorseful for her Dec. 26 conflict with 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. at the Arlo Hotel in SoHo.
The teen’s father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, recorded the confrontation and put the video online.
In his video, an agitated woman demands the teenager’s phone, claiming he stole it. A hotel manager tries to intervene. Keyon Harrold tells the woman to leave his son alone.
Ponsetto’s attorney confirmed the woman in the video is her client. Critics on social media have dubbed Ponsetto “SoHo Karen.”
Security video later released by the NYPD shows Ponsetto frantically grabbing at the teenager as he tried to get away from her through the hotel’s front door. She clutches him from behind, and both tumble to the ground.
Ponsetto’s missing phone had actually been left in an Uber and was returned by the driver shortly afterward, Keyon Harrold has said.
Keyon Harrold Jr.’s parents and attorneys called on the NYPD and Manhattan district attorney to charge Ponsetto with assault and other crimes.
The altercation drew comparisons to cases like that of Amy Cooper, a white woman who was charged with filing a false report for calling 911 and saying she was being threatened by “an African American man” during a dispute in Central Park in May.
Ponsetto was just arraigned in criminal court in Manhattan on the charges before Judge Michael Frishman.
The Judge gave the defendant supervised release and granted orders of protection in favor of the victims. Ponsetto is due back in court on March 29.