Authorities arrest the woman allegedly involved in assault on Black musician’s son in NYC hotel


Miya Ponsetto was arrested Thursday during a traffic stop in which she had to be forcibly removed from her car in Piru, located in Ventura County, nearly 3,000 miles from the lobby of the boutique Manhattan hotel where the physical confrontation occurred, authorities said.

She was arrested on a “fugitive warrant in connection with a recent assault at a New York City hotel,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. She was being held without bail at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura, the sheriff’s office said.

Detectives from the NYPD were present to help coordinate the arrest, according to the sheriff’s office.

In an interview with “CBS This Morning” before her arrest Thursday, Ponsetto said she should have handled the situation differently and apologized to the family of the musician, trumpeter Keyon Harrold. But her actions did not rise to the level of a crime, she insisted.

“I was approaching the people exiting the hotel,” she said, “because in my mind anybody exiting … might be the one that is trying to steal my phone.”

She added, “I admit yes, I could have approached the situation differently or maybe not yelled at him like that and made him feel … as if I was like hurting his feelings. That’s not my intention. I consider myself to be super sweet.”

Ponsetto appeared to try to justify her actions at one point, asking, “How would you feel if you were alone in New York and you know you were going to spend time with your family during the holidays and you lose the one thing that gets stolen from you that has all of the access to the only way that you’re able to get back home?”

A Black musician's son was falsely accused of stealing a woman's iPhone.
She disputes his account and accusations of racism

“I don’t feel that is who I am as a person,” she said of the incident. “I don’t feel like this one mistake does define me, but I do sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, apologize … if I made the son feel as if I assaulted him or if I hurt his feelings or his father’s feelings.”

Pressed about the video showing her apparently assaulting the teen, Ponsetto said, “Yes, the footage shows me attacking his son. Of attacking him how? Yelling at him yes. OK I apologize, can we move on?”

Ponsetto said the hotel had her phone. Police said the phone was returned to her at the hotel after the incident by the driver of a ride-share vehicle she had used.

Ponsetto was picked up Thursday during a traffic stop near her home.

“She did not stop for deputies until she reached her residence, and she refused to get out of the car. Deputies forcibly removed her from the vehicle and arrested her for the outstanding warrant,” according to the news release.

Ponsetto will remain in custody pending an extradition hearing, according to the news release.

Her attorney did not immediately respond to The New York Times for comment following the arrest. CNN is reaching out to the attorney, Sharen H. Ghatan.

Ghatan had told the Times prior to her client’s arrest that Ponsetto was not targeting the jazz musician’s son because of his race. The attorney added that her client is of Puerto Rican and Vietnamese descent and does not identify as White. Ghatan said her client was “not trying to make any racial statement.”

The NYPD had identified Ponsetto as White but also said that they were not investigating the incident as a case of racial bias.

What happened in New York City

The alleged assault happened last month at the Arlo SoHo boutique hotel, where Harrold and his son were guests.

Harrold posted a video taken with his phone that shows the woman making claims against his son.

In the video, when Harrold and his son attempt to leave, the woman approaches them, saying, “I’m not letting him walk away with my phone.” The video then shows her on the floor, but it’s unclear how she landed there. She approaches them again and the teen’s father ​is heard shouting for her to get ​her hands off before the video cuts out.

NYPD releases video it says shows woman attacking Black musician's son after falsely accusing him of stealing her iPhone

In his Instagram post, Harrold said the woman scratched him and grabbed his son. He told NBC that after the video cut off, the woman, “tackled my son, you know, trying to reach in his pockets, reach in my pockets.”

Harrold suffered slight injuries, but his son was not injured, the New York Police Department said.

CNN spoke to Ponsetto last week on the telephone.

She claimed she was assaulted during the altercation. CNN hasn’t been able to corroborate her account with investigators or with the hotel where the incident took place. She disputed Harrold’s account of what happened.

When asked whether she’s concerned about possibly facing charges and overall how she is portrayed in the video, she said, “Of course I worry. That’s not who I am. I actually … try very hard to make sure that I am always doing the right thing.”

CNN’s Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.



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