Ellen Moynihan and Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News
The California woman caught on video wrongly accusing a Black teen of stealing her iPhone at a SoHo hotel was ordered freed on supervised release Saturday on charges of attempted robbery and assault.
The court hearing capped a day of proceedings before police, lawyers and a Manhattan Criminal Court judge for Miya Ponsetto, 22.
She was flown to the city from California and taken to the First Precinct in lower Manhattan.
Police charged her with attempted robbery, grand larceny, acting in a manner injurious to a child and two counts of attempted assault for allegedly attacking the 14-year-old son of Grammy-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold Sr. in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel on Dec. 26.
Sporting a black hat, purple crop top, light blue surgical mask and an oversized black coat, Ponsetto said nothing as detectives escorted her to a car that would take her to her to Red Hook Community Court in Brooklyn.
A source said she underwent a medical screening in Red Hook because she had just arrived from California, where COVID-19 rates are high.
Finally, early on Saturday evening, Ponsetto appeared before a video camera in Red Hook. “Hi,” she said a few times as the arraignment started. “Hello?”
“Can you guys hear me?”
“My recommendation is that you remain quiet right now,” said Judge Michael Frishman.
Manhattan Assistant DA Sarah Marquez requested the highest level of supervised release for Ponsetto, calling her attack on Harrold’s son “unprovoked.” She also noted that in California, Ponsetto faces public intoxication, drunken driving and motor vehicle charges.
But under New York law, Marquez conceded, Judge Frishman could not impose bail in her case.
Frishman warned Ponsetto to show up to all her court dates on both coasts. “You do risk getting a bail that you won’t be able to make,” he said.
“Miya Ponsetto was charged with 4 FELONIES for her horrific attack on 14yo Keyon Harrold Jr!” the jazz musician’s family attorney Ben Crump wrote on Twitter.
“This is a good development, but management of @ArloHotels — owned by Quadrum Global — gave power to Miya’s racist actions and must also be held accountable!!” Crump wrote.
Harrold Sr. recorded the encounter on his phone and the incident was also caught on hotel surveillance cameras. The cellphone video went viral, sparking accusations of racism and calls for Ponsetto to be charged.
Her phone had actually been left in an Uber and was eventually returned to the hotel, sources said.
NYPD detectives were sent to California to track Ponsetto down and a warrant was issued for her arrest.
On Thursday, Ponsetto was driving near her family’s home in Piru, California, when Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to take her into custody. She refused to stop and continued driving for three more blocks, a department spokesman told The New York Daily News.
Hours earlier, she snapped at anchor Gayle King during a “CBS This Morning” interview when pressed about her actions.
“All right, Gayle. Enough,” she said.
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