A woman who made national headlines after being caught on video tackling a Black
teenager she falsely accused of stealing her
cellphone was charged with a felony hate crime
Miya Ponsetto, 22, was caught on camera last December grabbing the 14-year-old son of jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold
in a Manhattan hotel lobby.
She became enraged and demanded that her cellphone be returned to her; in fact, Ponsetto had left her phone in an Uber
, which was later returned to her, according to police; she then left the hotel, and the New York Police Department
launched a search for her.
Ponsetto, who was visiting New York, was discovered in her hometown of Piru, California
, after being charged earlier this year in New York City
with attempted robbery, grand larceny, endangering a child
, and two counts of attempted assault
According to the indictment
shared with CNN
by the Manhattan district attorney
's office, Ponsetto was indicted this week by a New York grand jury
on the additional charges, which include two counts of unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, endangering the welfare of a child, and aggravated harassment.
According to CNN, Ponsetto's attorney, Paul D'Emilia, entered a not guilty plea on her behalf.
In a statement, D'Emilia described the charges against his client as a "brazen and clear overreach of the intent of the statute; in short, they are absurd, and a perversion of our legal system."
Ponsetto admitted in an interview
earlier this year that she "maybe" shouldn't have yelled at the teen and that she didn't mean to "hurt him or his father," but she later appeared to backtrack, implying that the teen was somehow connected to the disappearance of her phone.
The 22-year-old woman caught on camera allegedly physically assaulting a 14-year-old Black teen and falsely accusing him of stealing her phone was arrested in California. Miya Ponsetto and her lawyer spoke with @GayleKing hours before her arrest in an exclusive interview. pic.twitter.com/ezaGkcWZ8j — CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 8, 2021
Harrold, who played trumpet on the Grammy-winning soundtrack to the Miles Davis biopic "Miles Ahead" in 2015, also filmed a scene involving Ponsetto with his cellphone as he attempted to protect his son.
The Harrolds did not issue a statement following the announcement of the new charges against Ponsetto, but they had previously posted messages expressing their displeasure with the hotel confrontation.
“I am furious!!! We see this crap all the time, but it hits different when it hits home!!!” Harrold wrote on Instagram
, along with a video of the incident.
has filed a civil suit against Ponsetto, the Arlo Hotel, and the hotel manager, alleging violations of state human rights
laws as well as other wrongs.
Keyon Harrold (@keyonharrold) shared this post on Instagram.
Last year, after the police released
the hotel surveillance video of the confrontation, Police Chief Rodney Harrison stated that the then-unknown woman "falsely accused an innocent 14-year-old teenager of stealing her cellphone... then proceeded to physically attack
him and flee the location."
According to her attorney, Ponsetto is on supervised release until her next court date in October.