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Miya Ponsetto charged with hate crime after accusing black teen of stealing her phone

Hotel Confrontation
Rev. Al Sharpton, right, speaks about Keyon Harrold Jr., Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 in New York. An assault of 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. on Dec. 26 at Manhattan’s Arlo Hotel was recorded and posted online by his father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, left. Kat Rodriguez, center, is the boy’s mother. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The woman who wrongly accused a Black teen for stealing her phone at a New York City hotel last year is facing charges for a hate crime.

Miya Ponsetto was arraigned in court in Manhattan on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to charges including unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment, and endangering the welfare of a child.

Ponsetto who lives in California, was seen in a viral video lunging at, tackled and shouting that the 14-year-old son of jazz musician Keyon Harold had stolen her phone.

The incident took place Dec. 26 in the lobby of Arlo Soho, a swanky, boutique hotel where Harlod and his son were guests.

Ponsetto’s phone was later found in an Uber vehicle, that the driver eventually returned to her.

Earlier this year, she was charged with attemted robbery, grand larceny, acting in a manner injurious to a child and two counts of attempted assault.

Hotel security camera footage later showed a 10-secon clip where Ponsetto appears to put her hands around the teenage boy in an attempt to tackle him to the ground.

Ventura County officers coordinated with NYPD to arrest Ponsetto on a fugitive warrant in front of her home in Piru, California, in January. Officers forcibly removed Ponsetto from vehicle, saying she resisted arrest.

Ponsetto denied any racial animus as a motivation for the incident during an interview with CBS “This Morning” host Gayle King in January.

The Harrold family filed a civil lawsuit against Ponsetto, the Arlo hotel and the hotel manager, alleging violations to New York State’s human rights laws, assault and infliction of emotional distress. They are represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump.