Woman who falsely accused Black teen at SoHo hotel pleads guilty to hate crime charge

NEW YORK (WABC) — A woman who falsely accused a Black teen of stealing her cell phone at a hotel in SoHo pleaded guilty on Monday.

Miya Ponsetto, 23, pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a hate crime after she accused Keyon Harrold Jr. of stealing her cell phone, and then attacked him at the Arlo Soho Hotel in December of 2020.

Ponsetto was caught on video accusing the teen, who is the son of jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, before trying to tackle him in the hotel lobby Dec. 26.

Watch the video that was posted on social media below:

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Keyon Harrold, a jazz musician, says a woman falsely accused his son, who is Black, of stealing her iPhone in a New York City hotel.

For the next two years Ponsetto must abide by the terms of her probation in a separate case in California and then she can plead down to a misdemeanor. Otherwise she faces up to four years in 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. This plea ensures appropriate accountability for Ms. Ponsetto by addressing underlying causes for her behavior and ensuring this conduct does not reoccur,” said District Attorney Bragg.

According to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr., if Ponsetto successfully follows these terms, she can replead to her other charge, aggravated harassment in the second degree.

RELATED | Black teen accused of stealing phone in viral incident at NYC hotel says he’s shell shocked

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Keyon Harrold and his son — along with mother Kat Harrold and attorney Ben Crump — speak out after they say a woman attacked the Black 14-year-old, accusing him of stealing her phone.

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