'SoHo Karen' Pleads Guilty To Hate Crime Charge But Avoids Jail Time
Miya Ponsetto, labeled “SoHo Karen,” entered a guilty plea on Monday to felony unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a hate crime for attacking Keyon Harrold Jr., a Black teenager. Ponsetto accused Harrold of stealing her phone in the Arlo SoHo hotel in Dec. 2020, according to the New York Post.
Ponsetto, 23, cut a plea agreement with prosecutors, who dismissed her other charges. If she doesn’t comply to the agreement of the plea deal, she faces up to four years in a New York prison, The Washington Post reports.
“You have been given a tremendous opportunity,” Justice Laura Ward told Ponsetto in the Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday, according to the New York Post. “Turn this lousy situation into a good situation so you never find yourself here again.”
Hotel footage caught an enraged Ponsetto in the lobby of the Arlo hotel confronting Harrold about her lost phone. She can be seen yelling at the teen and preventing him from leaving by chasing and tackling him to the ground. Moments later, an Uber driver gave back her phone where she had left it.
The @nypd needs our help identifying the woman who attacked Keyon Harrold Jr. after falsely accusing the innocent teen of stealing her phone. This newly released footage of the attack clearly shows her assaulting Keyon before she fled the hotel prior to police arriving on scene! pic.twitter.com/hVnqrEXyjo
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) December 31, 2020
“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,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr. said in a press release.
Jazz musician Keyon Harrold Sr., the victim’s father, sued Ponsetto, the Arlo SoHo hotel and the hotel manager in March 2021 for assisting Ponsetto in racially profiling and wrongfully accusing his son of theft. The hotel issued an apology, agreeing that the manager did not effectively “de-escalate the dispute.”
“We won’t change the culture until we hold people accountable for their outrageously bad behavior,” Ben Crump, the attorney for Harrold Jr., said, NBC News reports.