LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A 22-year-old Ventura County woman who was caught on video wrongly accusing a Black teen of stealing her cell phone and then tackling him to the ground in a New York City hotel back in December has been sued by the teen’s family.
The family of 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. held a news conference Wednesday in New York City to announce it is filing a civil lawsuit against 22-year-old Miya Ponsetto and the hotel where the attack occurred, CBS New York reports.
Ponsetto is also facing criminal charges in the case.
According to CBS New York, on Dec. 26, Ponsetto is accused of attacking Harrold Jr. and his father inside the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in New York City. The entire incident was captured on cell phone and surveillance video.
Miya Ponsetto, 22, was arrested in Piru, Calif., on Jan. 7, 2020. (Ventura County Sheriff’s Office)
A hotel manager also approached Harrold and asked to see the phone, which he did not have, CBS New York reports.
An Uber driver later found the woman’s phone in his car returned it to the hotel, according to CBS New York.
On the afternoon of Jan. 7, Ponsetto was taken into custody on a fugitive warrant outside her home in the Ventura County town of Piru after leading deputies on a short pursuit when she refused to initially pull over.
She was extradited to New York City to appear on charges of attempted assault, attempted robbery, grand larceny and acting in a manner injurious to a child. She is back in Southern California after being granted supervised release.
In an interview with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King which was conducted just a few hours before her arrest, Ponsetto claims that she wasn’t targeting Harrold.
“I was approaching the people that had been exiting the hotel, because in my mind, anybody exiting is probably the one, might be the one, that is trying to steal my phone,” Ponsetto said. “I admit yes, I could have approached the situation differently, or maybe not yelled at him like that and made him feel, some sort of, inferior way, making him feel as if I was like, hurting his feelings because that’s not my intention. I consider myself to be super sweet, I really never ever meant for it to like hurt him or his father either.”