Woman Filmed Tackling Black Teen In NYC Hotel Lobby Pleads Guilty To Hate Crime

Miya Ponsetto became known as “SoHo Karen” after she was filmed accusing a Black teen of taking her phone. The phone was found later in an Uber.

A California woman who falsely accused a Black teen of taking her phone at a Manhattan hotel in December 2020 has pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a hate crime.

Miya Ponsetto, 23, became known as “SoHo Karen” after she was caught on camera accusing 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. of stealing her phone in the lobby of New York City’s Arlo Soho Hotel.

In a video that went viral, she appears to try to grab the teen as he tries to exit the hotel.

The teen’s father, jazz musician Keyon Harrold, accused Ponsetto of racial profiling. Her missing phone was apparently later located in an Uber, and the driver returned it to her.

In an interview with CBS after the incident, Ponsetto admitted she should have approached the situation differently, “maybe not yelled at him like that and made him feel, you know, maybe some sort of inferior way, making him feel as if I was, like, hurting his feelings.”

Ponsetto is already on probation in California for a separate case. The terms of her guilty plea on Monday allow her to continue her probation and counseling.

If she can avoid further interaction with the criminal justice system and abide by the terms of the deal, Ponsetto can replead to a lesser misdemeanor charge. Otherwise, she faces up to four years in state prison, according to prosecutors.

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