Miya Ponsetto, 22, was arrested on January 7 by the Ventura County Sheriff and members of the NYPD as she drove near her home in Piru, California, northwest of Los Angeles. Ponsetto was extradited to New York City on January 9 for tackling 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. at Arlo Hotel on December 26th, 2020 after falsely accusing the teenager of stealing her cellphone. Ponsetto has been charged with attempted robbery, fourth degree grand larceny, child endangerment and attempted assault. She will likely face additional charges for attempting to slam her car door on a deputy’s leg during her arrest.

Ponsetto was nicknamed “SoHo Karen” after a viral video showing her accusing and tackling Harold Jr. in front of his father, Grammy award-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold Sr., while hotel security and management stood by. Ponsetto, who said she suffered an anxiety attack when she couldn’t locate the phone, claimed her attack was not racially motivated because she approached several people during her search. Her cellphone was later found in an Uber and returned by the driver.

During an interview with CBS News anchor Gayle King on January 8, Ponsetto, with her lawyer Sharen H. Ghatan present, repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, asking, “How is one girl accusing a guy about a phone a crime?” Ponsetto grew angry, telling King, “Enough”, after she would not admit Harrold Jr. did not have her phone. Attorney Ghatan told TMZ, “Miya has not grasped the severity of her circumstances. I was able to determine she is simply unwell…if she is unwilling to take my legal advice, there is not much more I can do”. Ponsetto was released under supervision and is due in Manhattan Criminal Court on March 29 due to several other criminal charges she faces in California.

Why We Need To Know:

Harrold Jr.’s family is seeking trauma therapy for their son. I’m sure we’re all be happy to see “SoHo Karen” being held criminally accountable for her actions. However, how and why was the situation allowed to escalate so quickly and terribly? Why is it that Black people can be attacked on video that goes viral before measures are taken to ensure our safety?