Police identify California woman Miya Ponsetto, 22, as ‘SoHo Karen’, the accuser in Keyon Harrold Jr. phone grab case
Miya Ponsetto was named Thursday in connection with the incident involving a 14-year-old black boy she falsely accused of stealing her iPhone
Ponsetto, 22, is from Sun Valley and is believed to have gone to Simi Valley High School
It comes after the NYPD released new surveillance footage of the woman tackling the teen to the ground in a New York City hotel
Footage shows the woman suddenly run at Keyon Harrold Jr., grab him by the waist and tackle him to the ground in the Arlo Hotel on Saturday
NYPD released the video just hours after the 22-year-old woman gave a rambling interview to CNN where she claimed she, instead was assaulted in the dispute
The boy’s father, Grammy-winning Black American jazz artist Keyon Harrold, had posted separate footage filmed on his smartphone on Instagram that went viral
Moments after the scuffle, Ponsetto‘s phone was returned to her by an Uber driver
The boy’s family and civil rights attorney Ben Crump are calling for charges
The woman dubbed SoHo Karen has been identified as Miya Ponsetto – who is believed to be a former cheerleader from California.
Citing NYPD sources Ponsetto, 22, was named by The New York Post Thursday in connection with the incident involving a 14-year-old black boy who she maintains stole her cell phone.
The White woman is caught on camera falsely accusing the 14-year-old son of jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold of stealing her iPhone.
She is said to be from Sun Valley and is believed to have gone to Simi Valley High School in California.
the unmasking comes after the NYPD released new surveillance footage of the woman tackling the teen to the ground in a New York hotel.
The video, shared on social media Wednesday night by NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison, shows the woman suddenly run at Keyon Harrold Jr. and grab him by the waist in the Arlo Hotel on Saturday.
Police release comes just hours after the 22-year-old woman gave a rambling interview to CNN where she denied racially profiling the boy and claimed it was her who was assaulted in the dispute.
The boy’s father, Grammy-winning African American jazz artist Keyon Harrold, had previously posted separate footage filmed on his smartphone on Instagram.
The new surveillance footage shows the woman dubbed ‘SoHo Karen’ tackling the 14-year-old son of a black musician to the ground in a New York City hotel while accusing him of stealing her phone.
It showed the woman pushing and grabbing at the father and son, allegedly even scratching Keyon Sr’s hands as she attempted to snatch his cellphone, wrongly believing it to be hers.
Moments after the scuffle concluded, her phone was reportedly found in an Uber and returned to her by the driver.
The NYPD confirmed Tuesday they had identified the woman and may charge her with assault, grand larceny or attempted robbery.
The boy’s famous father, mother Kat Rodriguez and civil rights attorney Ben Crump are urging officials to bring charges against her over the incident.
The NYPD has released new surveillance footage of the woman dubbed ‘SoHo Karen’ tackling the 14-year-old son of a black musician to the ground in a New York City hotel while accusing him of stealing her phone.
The video, shared on social media Wednesday night by NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison, shows the woman suddenly run at Keyon Harrold Jr. and grab him by the waist in the Arlo Hotel on Saturday’.
The new footage casts new light on Saturday’s events in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan.
It shows four people – the woman identified as Ponsetto, Keyon, Keyon Jr. and another individual standing at the bottom of the stairs in the lobby.
Keyon Jr. starts to walk away in the direction of the hotel doors.
At this point, the woman runs and grabs the 14-year-old around the waist, latching on to him as the boy’s father runs after them.
They pass through the automatic doors in the lobby as the boy tries to shake her off, turning around as she appears to tackle him to the ground.
A close-up of the woman’s face is shown with ‘wanted’ emblazoned across it as the police urge anyone with information about the woman’s whereabouts to contact the NYPD.
‘On Saturday, December 26, the woman in this video falsely accused an innocent 14-year-old teenager of stealing her cellphone,’ Harrison tweeted.
‘She then proceeded to physically attack him and fled the location before police officers arrived on scene.’
The woman named as Ponsetto gave a 20-minute phone call with CNN – reportedly often rambling at times – claiming that she was assaulted during the altercation with Keyon Sr. and his son, though failed to provide further details, including who allegedly assaulted her.
The 22-year-old’s allegation has not been corroborated by investigators or any witnesses to the December 26 incident.
The new footage casts new light on Saturday’s events in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan. It shows four people – identified as the woman, Keyon, Keyon Jr. and another individual standing at the bottom of the stairs in the lobby
Harrold Jr. starts to walk away in the direction of the hotel doors. At this point, the woman runs and grabs the 14-year-old around the waist, latching on to him as the boy’s father runs after them. They pass through the automatic doors in the lobby as the boy tries to shake her off
After she eventually agreed to provide evidence to the network to support the claim, the woman, who lives out of state, reportedly stopped replying to CNN’s messages and calls.
According to the woman the incident was spurred when she first demanded to see the hotel’s surveillance footage to try and pinpoint who may have taken her phone.
After the request was denied, she reportedly then cornered someone else in the lobby to ’empty their pockets’, before turning her attention to Keyon Jr.
‘That’s when everything got a little more serious,’ she said.
It’s currently unclear when the alleged assault was purported to take place. The woman also provided additional information of events preceding and unrelated to the incident, which CNN said it has so far been unable to verify.
Speaking out about her concerns over the possibility of facing charges, she said: ‘Of course I worry. That’s not who I am. I actually… try very hard to make sure that I am always doing the right thing.’
The woman added she is willing to cooperate with any police investigation, but says she has not yet been contacted by investigators, nor has she reached out herself.
Harrold and Keyon Jr.’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, staged a rally in Manhattan on Wednesday alongside their attorney Ben Crump and Reverend Al Sharpton.
‘When I saw this story, I thought about how I was one of those kids whose father never took him anywhere for Christmas, never had brunch with my father,’ Sharpton said.
‘And for this Black man to take his Black son, put him in a hotel during a pandemic, and spend Christmas with him, raising him, and to be assaulted because of the color of their skin, I wanted to stand with this man and this woman who provided for their son, and they’re being criminalized for it. The arrogance and audacity of this woman.’
Harrold added that had he not come down into the lobby with his son when he did, something ‘could have gone very wrong.’
‘The idea of trauma goes above any charge that we may have…I bring my son places where he shouldn’t have to deal with injustices and shouldn’t have to be profiled,’ he said.
An emotional Rodriguez also spoke during the rally, taking her opportunity to let it be known she is unhappy with the way the hotel handled the situation, and also called on ‘SoHo Karen’ to be charged with assault.
‘All that we are asking is for the police to do the right thing, for the DA to do the right thing, to charge this woman with assault of a minor,’ she said.
‘To the hotel, which I’m equally angry at, you are trained to use those tools. I called the hotel right after it happened, and I gave them a chance to make it right, and they didn’t. You know when they made it right? When my tribe, my community spoke up.
‘It breaks my heart that this is happening to our son. This incident could have been avoided in so many ways,’ she said.
Crump, meanwhile, called the incident an example of ‘racial injustice’ – an all-too common narrative that ‘needs to change’.
‘Can you imagine what the narrative would have been if Keyon Harrold had not videoed the incident on his cellphone?’ Crump asked the crowd.
Keyon Harrold Sr. then played a trumpet rendition of ‘America the Beautiful’ and ‘We Shall Overcome,’ drawing applause and a few tears.
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