Woman pleads guilty to hate crime after wrongly accusing Black teen of stealing phone

The California girl, dubbed “SoHo Karen” after wrongly accusing a Black teenager of stealing her cellphone in New York Metropolis, pleaded guilty to a hate crime cost, officers stated Monday.

Miya Ponsetto, now 23, has admitted to illegal imprisonment “as a hate crime,” however can re-plead and have the cost decreased to misdemeanor aggravated harassment if she steers clear of any bother for 2 years, Manhattan prosecutors stated.

Viral video confirmed Ponsetto lunging at, tackling and shouting at Keyon Harrold Jr., then 14, who she accused, with no proof, of taking her iPhone.

The incident befell Dec. 26, 2020, within the foyer of Arlo Soho, an upscale, boutique resort the place the teen and his jazz musician father, Keyon Harrold, had been friends.

Miya Ponsetto has been identified as the woman who falsely accused Keyon Harrold’s son of phone theft.
Miya Ponsetto has been recognized as the girl who falsely accused Keyon Harrold’s son of phone theft.Keyon Harrold

It was later found that Ponsetto, who’s white, left her phone in an Uber and the machine was returned to her. The incident has been held up as a logo of racial profiling.

“Ms. Ponsetto displayed outrageous conduct. As a Black man, I’ve personally skilled racial profiling numerous instances in my life and I sympathize with the younger man victimized on this incident,” Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg said in a statement Monday.

“This plea ensures acceptable accountability for Ms. Ponsetto by addressing underlying causes for her conduct and making certain this conduct doesn’t reoccur.”

The New York case is piggybacking on a previous DUI case in California in which Ponsetto is serving probation and undergoing counseling.

Ponsetto, a receptionist in Southern California, is grateful for the deal, her attorney Paul D’Emilia said.

“We’re happy that as we speak’s continuing introduced this unlucky misunderstanding nearer to a remaining decision,” D’Emilia said in a statement. “Miya Ponsetto has been main an exemplary life since this incident with the younger man shut to a yr and a half in the past.”

Ponsetto hopes the victim “accepts her regrets and apology for her conduct that night, and that every one concerned can transfer ahead,” according to D’Emilia.

If Ponsetto does not comply with her terms of probation, should could face between 1 1/3 to 4 years in New York state prison, prosecutors said.

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