Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Ashe Schow.
A woman who accosted a black teenager and his father in a New York City hotel lobby in late 2020, accusing the teen of stealing her iPhone, pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a hate crime.
Miya Ponsetto, 23, has agreed to a plea deal that will require her to "follow the probation terms for a separate case in California, attend counseling and avoid further criminal incidents,"
CNN reported. If she breaks the terms of her plea deal, Ponsetto could face up to four years in prison. If she follows them, she can plead the felony charge down to a misdemeanor for aggravated harassment in the second degree.
Paul D'Emilia, Ponsetto's attorney, said his client appreciated the plea deal.
"We are appreciative of the District Attorney's thoughtful and empathetic approach to finding an acceptable conclusion, especially in light of the unreasonable pressure brought to bear by many voices not familiar with the more granular details of what occurred that evening,"
D'Emilia said. "Ms. Ponsetto looks forward to her eventual final plea to the harassment charge, a plea that we feel more realistically reflects her actions that night at the Arlo Hotel. It is Ms. Ponsetto's wish that Keyon Harrold accepts her regrets and apology for her behavior that evening, and that all involved can move forward with added insight and compassion."
District Attorney Alvin Bragg condemned Ponsetto's actions while saying the plea deal was "appropriate."
"As a Black man, I have personally experienced racial profiling countless times in my life and I sympathize with the young man victimized in this incident,"
Bragg said, according to CNN. "This plea ensures appropriate accountability for Ms. Ponsetto by addressing underlying causes for her behavior and ensuring this conduct does not reoccur."
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Ponsetto was in the lobby of the Arlo Soho Hotel and unable to find her phone when Grammy-award winning trumpet player Keyon Harrold and his 14-year-old son came down from their room for breakfast. Harrold captured several minutes of the incident on his own phone before posting it to his Instagram account. The woman can be seen frantically claiming to the hotel manager that Harrold's 14-year-old son stole her phone. The teenager told the woman that it was his phone and his father stepped up to say, "You don't have to explain nothing to her."
The woman continued to claim that the teen had stolen her phone and demanded that he prove it was his phone. Harrold responded: "Are you kidding me? You feel like there's only one iPhone in the world?"
Harrold wrote on Instagram that the woman scratched him and tackled and grabbed his son.
"Now watch as the manager advocates for the lady who is not even a hotel guest, insisting and attempting to use his managerial authority to force my son to show his phone to this random lady. He actually empowered her!!! He didn't even consider the fact we were actually the guests!"
Harrold added that just a few minutes after the incident, an Uber driver brought the woman's phone into the hotel after she apparently left it in the vehicle.
"No apology from her after this traumatic situation to my son, not me. No apologies from the establishment,"
Ponsetto's attorney at the time, Sharon Ghatan, said her client "suffers from a lot of anxiety attacks."
"She was alone ... 22 years old in a city she doesn't know, absolutely nobody there and her phone had everything about it,"
Ghatan was representing Ponsetto in an unrelated case. After the video of Ponsetto accosting the Harrolds went viral, media outlets dug into her past to find several alcohol-related arrests and charges from last year.
As for the hotel incident regarding the Harrolds, Ghatan said her client "lost her mind for a hot minute"
and that she "is sorry."
"Sadly, these poor Harrolds had to deal with the aftermath,"
Ghatan told NBC.
Ponsetto previously told CBS's Gayle King in January 2021 that she couldn't be racist because she's Puerto Rican.
"I wasn't racial profiling whatsoever. I'm Puerto Rican,"
Ponsetto said. "I'm, like, a woman of color. I'm Italian, Greek, Puerto Rican."
King pressed Ponsetto, asking whether the young woman thought she couldn't be racist because she was a woman of color. Ponsetto responded, "Exactly."
"Well, I would disagree with that,"
King said. "People of color can be racist too. Do you believe that you should pay a price for this?"
"I don't feel that my accusation is a crime,"
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