Miya 'SoHo Karen' Ponsetto Pleads Not Guilty To Hate Crime For Assaulting A Black Teen

Miya ‘SoHo Karen’ Ponsetto Pleads Not Guilty To Hate Crime For Assaulting A Black Teen

Credit: Ventura County Shariff’s Office via Getty Images

On Wednesday, Miya Ponsetto, also known as “SoHo Karen,” pled not guilty to hate crime charges stemming from an incident where she was caught on video allegedly assaulting a Black teen, Keyon Harrold Jr., the son of jazz musician Keyon Harold Sr., over an alleged stolen iPhone.

On Dec. 26, the 22-year-old accused 14-year-old Keyon of stealing her cell phone and tried to snatch his phone and tackle him to the ground of the Arlo Soho Hotel. 

A grand jury indicted Ponsetto on charges of unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment, and endangering the welfare, according to the NY Post.

In total, she has four charges associated with the incident.

On Jan. 8, the California native got charged with attempted robbery, attempted assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and grand larceny in the fourth degree, ABC News reported.

For Paul D’Emilia, Ponsetto’s attoney, the additional felonies to her existing misdemeanors adds more pressure to prove her innocence.

Her interview Gayle King the same day also made things worse.


As BLACK ENTERPRISE, Ponsetto misplaced her iPhone inside her last Lyft driver’s vehicle but accused the teen of taking her phone. Ponsetto encountered the family inside the lobby as the duo was leaving to have breakfast.

D’Emilia criticized Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance with an exclusive comment for TMZ, saying that “instead of helping to foster a civil and enlightened resolution to an unfortunate incident between two young people, DA Vance chose a craven and opportunistic path in indicting, with felony hate crime charges.”

The Harrold family is being represented by Ben Crump, who said at the time of the incident that Ponsetto’s racism should be treated as a criminal act.

“As this year of racial awareness is drawing to a close, it’s deeply troubling that incidents like this one, in which a Black child is viewed as and treated like a criminal, continue to happen. Compounding the injustice, the hotel manager defaulted to calling on 14-year-old Keyon to prove his innocence, documenting that we have two justice systems in America and that Black people are treated as guilty until proven innocent. We strongly urge Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. to bring assault and battery charges against this woman to send the message that hateful, racially motivated behavior is unacceptable. This is what it will take to drive change. We also call for a civil rights investigation into the Arlo Hotel for its implicit bias in its treatment of Keyon.”