A woman who falsely accused a Black teenager of stealing her phone and then tackled him at a New York City hotel has been arrested in California.
22-year-old Miya Ponsetto, was arrested this week after the New York Police Department flew detectives out to California with a warrant.
The trip followed days of intense media coverage of the fracas at the hotel and demands by the teen’s family and activists that she face criminal charges.
Ponsetto’s lawyer, Sharen Ghatan, said in an interview before the arrest that her client is “emotionally unwell” and remorseful for her December 26 conflict with 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr at Manhattan’s Arlo Hotel.
In a video recorded by the teen’s father, the woman is seen demanding the teen’s phone, claiming he stole it. A hotel manager tries to intervene. Keyon Harrold can be heard in the recording telling the woman to leave his son alone.
Security footage later released by the NYPD shows Ponsetto frantically grabbing at the teen as he tried to get away from her through the hotel’s front door. She is seen clutching him from behind before they both tumble to the ground.
Ponsetto’s missing phone had actually been left in an Uber and was returned by the driver shortly afterwards, Harrold said.
The police chased Ponsetto’s car in California’s Ventura County for two blocks before she stopped her car but refused to get out. Officers had to forcibly unseat her from the car.
Harrold and his son are Black and were guests at the hotel in lower Manhattan. The attacker has a history of DUI, public intoxication raps among others. The NYPD has said it plans to hit the woman with raps that could include assault, grand larceny or attempted robbery.
— Safekeep New York City (@Safekeep_NYC) January 3, 2021