Miya Ponsetto, the 22-year-old woman who charged at a Black teenager and threw him to the ground after falsely accusing him of stealing her phone, was arrested in California today. It’s unclear exactly what charges she will face. Ponsetto was caught on camera allegedly physically assaulting 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. — son of Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold — on December 26. The incident occurred in the lobby of Arlo, a boutique hotel in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood.
Footage of the attack, recorded by Keyon Harrold Sr., went viral:
The day before she was arrested, Ponsetto gave an exclusive interview to Gayle King. In it, she is insolent and dismissive, coming off as remorseless. She refers to herself as a “22-year-old girl,” while trying to excuse her behavior. She consistently hedges and avoids giving direct answers to King’s questions, and also made the baffling choice of wearing a cap that reads “Daddy” on it to be interviewed:
The whole conversation is disastrous for Ponsetto, but the worst moment comes toward the end, when she is shockingly rude to the veteran journalist interviewing her. When King tells her, “You’re 22 years old, but you are old enough to know better,” Ponsetto cuts her off, saying: “All right Gayle, enough,” with a dismissive hand gesture:
At that point Ponsetto’s lawyer, who had until then remained quiet with a deep grimace on her face, turns to her client and says, “Stop, stop,” without moving her lips.
Overall, in addition to insulting a beloved public figure, Ponsetto seems to have only made her situation worse. On top of that, she offered an insincere non-apology to Harrold Jr., limited to “if I insulted him or hurt his feelings.”
Meanwhile, her description of herself as a “supersweet” person and attempts to justify her attack of a 14-year-old boy by saying she “wanted to do my part as best as I could” are at odds with video evidence. So are her attempts to paint herself as a victim in the situation: “I’m a 22-year-old girl … How is a girl accusing a guy about a phone …”
The incident has sparked two separate investigations: one by the New York Police Department and another by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The case has drawn comparisons to one this past summer, in which Amy Cooper falsely accused a Black birder of assault in Central Park.