Miya Ponsetto, 22, was taken into police custody in Ventura County, California. The woman often referred to as “SoHo Karen” wrongly blamed Black jazz musician Keyon Harrold’s 14-year-old son of stealing her cell phone.
Video of the situation went viral on social media after the Grammy winner posted the footage to his Instagram page. Ponsetto was also seen physically attacking Keyon Harrold Jr. on surveillance video after she falsely accused him of theft.
The December 26 incident took place at New York City’s Arlo Hotel in the SoHo neighborhood. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department arrested Ponsetto near Los Angeles on Thursday. She is being held without bail for a fugitive assault warrant in New York state.
On Saturday, December 26, the woman in this video falsely accused an innocent 14-year-old teenager of stealing her cellphone. She then proceeded to physically attack him and fled the location before police officers arrived on scene. pic.twitter.com/qtZZWetBWH
— Chief Rodney Harrison (@NYPDChiefOfDept) December 31, 2020
Many observers believe Ponsetto and hotel management racially profiled the Harolds. The family released a statement that read, in part, “What it is about is significant, societal change. It’s about a system that condones and emboldens racial profiling and considers Black people guilty until proven innocent.”
Ponsetto’s attorney is claiming she has mental health issues and she “lost her mind” because her phone had important information on it. The phone was actually left in an Uber driver’s vehicle. She apparently never apologized to the Harolds. The Arlo Hotel has issued an apology.
“Now let’s hope they actually charge her with the s### she supposed to be charged with and she does some jail time,” wrote Keyon Sr. on Instagram about the news Ponsetto was arrested. Apparently, the New York Police Department is not investigating the matter as a bias incident.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is assiting the Harrold family, stated, “So often Black men get stereotyped as not being there for our children. Well, thank God that we have video documentation that we are here for our children and that we love our children just as much as anyone else loves their children.”