Police Arrest Woman Who Falsely Accused Black Teen Of Stealing Her iPhone

Miya Ponsetto allegedly tackled jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold’s son to the ground during the confrontation.

January 08, 2021

Miya Ponsetto [Ventura County Sheriff's Office]

Miya Ponsetto [Ventura County Sheriff's Office]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

Coordinating with the New York Police Department, authorities in California arrested a woman for a fugitive warrant in connection with an alleged attack on a jazz musician’s teenage son in a Manhattan hotel after she wrongly accused him of swiping her iPhone.

According to a Ventura County Sheriff’s Office news release, deputies attempted to pull over Miya Ponsetto, 22, on January 7 as she drove near her home in Piru, but “she did not stop for deputies until she reached her residence, and she refused to get out of the car.”

Deputies “forcibly removed her from the vehicle and arrested her for the outstanding warrant,” according to the release, which notes Ponsetto is being held without bail in a pre-trial detention facility pending an extradition hearing.

On December 26, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, 40, and his 14-year-old son, Keyon Harrold Jr., were staying at the Arlo SoHo Hotel in New York City when Ponsetto allegedly confronted the teen — demanding his iPhone and accusing him of stealing it from her.

In video Harrold Sr. shot and posted to Instagram, Ponsetto can be heard making the claims and yelling, “I'm not letting him walk away with my phone.”

Security video of the incident obtained by the New York Post allegedly shows Ponsetto later clutching at Harrold Jr. and dragging him to the ground as he attempted to move away from her and out the hotel door.

“We see this crap happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home… Now think about the trauma that my son,” who is Black, “has to carry, only coming downstairs to have [Boxing Day] brunch with his dad,” Harrold Sr. wrote in a caption on his Instagram video.

Harrold Sr. added that Ponsetto’s phone “was magically returned by an Uber driver a few minutes after this incident.”

Despite accusations the alleged assault may have been racially motivated, the NYPD is not pursuing it as a case of bias.

Defense attorney Sharen H. Ghaten noted her client, Ponsetto, is of Vietnamese and Puerto Rican descent and was “not trying to make any racial statement” and target Harrold Jr. based on the color of his skin, the Associated Press reported.

It “could have been anyone,” the attorney insisted.

Before the arrest, Ghaten told AP that Ponsetto is “emotionally unwell” and remorseful for what happened.

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