NEW YORK (PIX11) — Miya Ponsetto, the woman dubbed ‘SoHo Karen’ after a confrontation with a Black teenager, pleaded guilty to a hate crime charge Monday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced.
She pleaded guilty to a hate crime charge of second-degree unlawful imprisonment. If she follows California probation terms for two years, continues counseling and avoids further trouble with the law, she will be able to replead to a misdemeanor charge of aggravated harassment.
If she doesn’t follow the terms of her deal, Ponsetto will face up to four years in state prison.
“Ms. Ponsetto displayed outrageous behavior. As a Black man, I have personally experienced racial profiling countless times in my life and I sympathize with the young man victimized in this incident,” Bragg said. “This plea ensures appropriate accountability for Ms. Ponsetto by addressing underlying causes for her behavior and ensuring this conduct does not reoccur.”
Ponsetto, a 23-year-old California resident, accused the 14-year-old boy of stealing her phone and then tackled him at the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan. She was later arrested in California
The conflict at the hotel between Ponsetto and Keyon Harrold Jr. was recorded by the teen’s father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, and put online.
The video captures her demanding that the boy prove to her that his cellphone is not hers.
The initial incide thappened around midday on Dec. 26 as Harrold and his son were coming off an elevator from their room at the Arlo Hotel here, where they were guests. The cellphone video also captured the hotel manager also asking to see the boy’s phone.
Video of the incident rapidly spread online, drawing comparisons to the Amy Cooper case. Cooper, a white woman, was arrested for calling 911 on a Black birdwatcher in Central Park.
Ponsetto’s cellphone ended up being turned in to her, shortly after the attack, by the driver of an Uber she’d been in earlier that day, according to Harrold and other sources.
In surveillance video of the incident, released by the NYPD, Ponsetto is seen lunging at the boy, after he refuses to give her his property. She tackles him, and throws him to the floor. She also scratched Harrold, as he tried to protect his son, police said.
Police charged Ponsetto with attempted robbery, grand larceny, two counts of attempted assault and acting in a manner injurious to a child on Jan. 9, 2021. She previously pleaded not guilty to racial profiling.