comscore Woman who falsely accused Black teen of stealing phone faces hate crime charges | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Woman who falsely accused Black teen of stealing phone faces hate crime charges

  • VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                A police booking photo, taken Jan. 8, of Miya Ponsetto. Ponsetto was arraigned in court in Manhattan, Wednesday, on charges including unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, after wrongly accusing a Black teen of taking her phone.

    VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A police booking photo, taken Jan. 8, of Miya Ponsetto. Ponsetto was arraigned in court in Manhattan, Wednesday, on charges including unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, after wrongly accusing a Black teen of taking her phone.

NEW YORK >> A California woman who wrongly accused a Black teen of taking her phone at a New York City hotel late last year and grabbed at him as he tried to leave is now charged with a hate crime.

Miya Ponsetto was arraigned in court in Manhattan via videoconference Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to charges including unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child.

Ponsetto was at the Arlo Hotel in December when she got into a confrontation with a teen, 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr., whom she accused of stealing her phone. Video shows her grabbing at him as he tried to get away. Her phone was found soon afterward in an Uber.

Ponsetto, of Piru, California, was initially arrested in January on other charges in connection with the confrontation. The 22-year-old initially seemed to apologize, but later backed off in a tense interview on a morning CBS news show.

Her next court date is scheduled for Oct. 20.

“The charges alleged are a brazen and clear overreach of the intent of the statute,” her attorney, Paul D’Emilia, said in a statement. “In sum, they are absurd, and a perversion of our legal system.”

The family of the teen has filed a lawsuit against Ponsetto and the hotel, alleging racial profiling.

Comments (59)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up