Miya Ponsetto, 22, was arrested in Ventura County, California on Thursday after NYPD issued a warrant for her arrest
The warrant stemmed from an incident on December 26 at a New York City hotel that led to Ponsetto being labeled ‘Soho Karen’
Ponsetto, dubbed ‘Soho Karen’, was filmed attacking black 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. after falsely accusing him of stealing her iPhone
Just before the arrest Ponsetto, in an interview with ABC refused to admit attacking Harrold Jr. in NYC and denies racism was a factor
Still, she apologized for ‘making him feel inferior’ by her ‘justified quest’ to retrieve her lost phone
On Thursday, Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies arrested her after a brief car chase when they spotted her driving near her home in Piru, northwest of LA
When she eventually stopped, she refused to get out of the car and slammed the door on a deputy’s leg
She’s being held without bail, pending extradition to New York
The ‘Soho Karen’ white woman who was caught on video tackling a black teen after falsely accusing him of stealing her phone has denied racism was a factor in her assault on the 14-year-old in the presence of his parent.Furthermore she refused to admit she physically assaulted him – but has apologized for hurting his feelings.
Miya Ponsetto, 22, made the comments in a rambling interview with CBS’ Gayle King just hours before being arrested on Thursday in her home state of California on a New York warrant.
Ponsetto was filmed attacking 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr, who is the son of Grammy-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold, at the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan back on December 26 after falsely accusing him of stealing her iPhone.
She denied in the interview, which aired on Friday, that racism was a factor and apologized for making the teen feel ‘inferior’.
Elsewhere in the interview, Ponsetto admitted she could have handled the situation different but stopped short of admitting she physically attacked the teen despite footage of her appearing to grab him.
Police arrest Miya Ponsetto, aka SoHo Karen, in California after a brief chase
After being told she should have known better and asked if she actually understood her actions, Ponsetto snapped at King, telling her: ‘Alright Gail, enough.’
‘I admit, yes, I could have approached the situation differently or maybe not yelled at him like that and made him feel, you know, like some sort of inferior way… making him feel like I was hurting his feelings,’ she said.
‘That’s not my intention, I consider myself to be super sweet.
‘I don’t feel like this one mistake defines me. I do sincerely from the bottom of my heart apologize if I made the son feel as if I assaulted him or if I hurt his feelings, or the father’s feelings.’
When asked about her physically attacking the teen, Ponsetto repeated previous claims that the boy’s father actually attacked her.
‘The footage shows me attacking his son, attacking him how? Yelling at him, yes. OK, I apologize. Can we move on,’ she said.
The Harrolds family have claimed the incident was racially motivated but Ponsetto denied this.
She admitted that she didn’t stop everyone in the hotel lobby when she believed her phone had been stolen.
‘I was approaching the people that had been exiting the hotel – because in my mind, anybody exiting might be the one trying to steal my phone,’ she said.
Elsewhere in the interview, Ponsetto referenced racism, saying: ‘Basically I am a 22-year-old girl. Racism, how is one girl accusing a guy about a phone a crime. Where is the context in that?’
Ponsetto was dubbed ‘SoHo Karen’ after she was seen in a now-viral video falsely accusing African American jazz artist Keyon Harrold’s son Keyon Jr. of stealing her iPhone at the Arlo Hotel in Mahattan, NY.
She was taken into custody on a New York warrant on Thursday after a brief car chase with police in Ventura County, California.
The New York Police Department had flown detectives out to California a day earlier with a warrant for Ponsetto’s arrest over the violent incident at the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan.
Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Ponsetto after spotting her driving near her home in Piru, northwest of Los Angeles.
Authorities said she drove two blocks before finally stopping her vehicle but then refused to get out of the car.
‘She tried to slam the door on one of the deputies and that’s when they just reached in and forcibly removed her,’ Ventura County Sheriff’s spokesman Eric Buschow said.
White woman accuses black teen of stealing her iPhone in NYC hotel
The sheriff’s office are now asking county prosecutors in California to also charge her with resisting arrest.
Ponsetto is now being held without bail in Ventura County pending extradition to New York.
Footage of the arrest show that ‘Soho Karen’ Miya Ponsetto appeared unbothered pumping gas before arrest in Ventura County, California, on Thursday.
Her arrest came after days of intense media coverage of the fracas at the hotel and demands by the teen’s family and activists that Ponsetto face criminal charges.
In a video recorded by the teen’s father, Ponsetto was seen pushing and grabbing both father and son.
She was recorded demanding the teenager’s phone, claiming he had stolen it from her.
Harrold Sr can be heard in the recording telling Ponsetto to leave his son alone.
Security video 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’s seen clutching him from behind before both tumble to the ground. Moments after the scuffle ended, her missing phone was found in an Uber and returned to her by the driver, Harrold Sr has said.
The NYPD released surveillance footage of Ponsetto tackling 14-year-old Keyon Jr to the ground in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel after she accused him of stealing her iPhone
NYPD detectives flew to California to help locate her after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance signed off on charges of attempted robbery and felony fugitive from justice.
The altercation drew comparisons to cases like that of Amy Cooper, a white woman who was charged with filing a false report for calling 911 and saying she was being threatened by ‘an African American man’ during a dispute in New York’s Central Park in May.
His parents have said her arrest is ‘a start’.
‘I pray for her. In the context of all the excuses her attorney made, at this point it’s not even about an apology any more,’ the teen’s father told ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday.
The teen has been in music therapy ever since the incident, his family say.
Ponsetto’s lawyer, Sharen Ghatan, told The AP in an interview before the arrest that her client is ’emotionally unwell’ and remorseful for the ordeal.
Ghatan said she spoke to her client earlier on Thursday and that ‘she strikes me as someone who’s unwell.’
She said Ponsetto ‘lashed out’ over worry about her phone disappearing and that it wasn’t racially motivated.
It ‘could have been anyone,’ she said.
On Wednesday, Ghatan had claimed that Ponsetto was having an anxiety attack during the hotel incident and insisted that it was not racially motivated.
‘Miya is young, She let her emotions get the best of her. That phone could have been in the hand of 90-year-old grandma, an Asian person.. someone black or blue. It wasn’t a race related issue. Things took a life of their own,’ Ghatan told NBC.
The lawyer explained that Ponsetto, who is from California, had been traveling alone while visiting her father in New York City for Christmas. She had been relying on her phone to help her navigate the city and became nervous and ‘triggered’ after realizing she had lost it.
‘She was a scared girl alone in a city she doesn’t know and lost her one point of contact for her numbers. She lost her mind for a hot minute. She is sorry,’ Ghatan said.
She said Ponsetto has since acknowledged that she lost her temper and acted inappropriately and ‘wouldn’t do it again’. She now wants to ‘give peace to the family’ and apologize.
Her attorney Sharen Ghatan explained that Ponsetto, who is from California, had been visiting her father in New York City for Christmas and was nervous about being alone in a strange city.
Ghatan said she and Ponsetto have contacted attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Harrold family, in hopes of arranging a meeting but have yet to hear back.
‘It’s horrible, what happened. She certainly should not have done that. She has some things she has to work through with herself, control issues, anger management issues. Of course she knows that,’ Ghatan said.
‘She wants to clarify and give peace to the family. She’s mixed race. She specifically said it’s not about race. The way she talks, it’s not even an issue. It was the phone.’
The lawyer denied accusations that Ponsetto was a ‘lady of privilege’, adding that she is of Puerto Rican descent who works ‘9-5 at a typical place’.
Ponsetto plans to address the controversy publicly when the time is right, but is ‘fragile’ at the moment.
Ponsetto’s mother and her attorney have expressed concern over her well-being, telling TMZ she has gone off the grid and has not been responding to messages.
They told the tabloid she has received threats and even visits to her home from strangers.
Thursday’s arrest isn’t the first time Ponsetto has had a brush with law enforcement.
Court records obtained by TMZ showedthat in May, 2020 Ponsetto was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. In October she was again arrested fo another DUI.
Those incidents followed a separate arrest back in February when she and her mother were charged for drunkenly refusing to leave a hotel in Los Angeles.