Miya Ponsetto, 23, pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a hate crime after accusing Keyon Harrold Jr. of stealing her phone, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced Monday.
“Ms. Ponsetto displayed outrageous behavior. 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 in a statement.
The charges stem from an incident in December 2020 at Arlo SoHo Hotel, where Ponsetto was seen in a viral video harassing the then 14-year-old for stealing her cellphone. Ponsetto then repeatedly “attacked and dragged him to the floor” despite multiple bystanders attempting to intervene, Bragg said.
Ponsetto was arrested days later after the New York Police Department released surveillance footage of the incident and asked for the public’s help in identifying her.
“We are pleased that today’s proceeding brought this unfortunate misunderstanding closer to a final resolution. Miya Ponsetto has been leading an exemplary life since this incident with the young man close to a year and a half ago,” Ponsetto’s attorney, Paul D’Emilia, said in a statement to People.
Ponsetto previously denied accusations that she targeted Harrold due to his race.
“I wasn’t racial profiling whatsoever. I’m Puerto Rican. I’m, like, a woman of color,” Ponsetto told CBS News’s Gayle King in a 2021 interview.
As part of her plea, Ponsetto will be under probation from a separate case in California and required to continue counseling. If she breaks the terms of her probation, she could face up to four years in prison.