White woman who attacked Black teen over cell arrested

Attorney Ben Crump

By Stacy M. Brown

NNPA Newswire Senior 

National Correspondent


Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump said, “enough is enough.” 

The famed lawyer from Tallahassee demanded and got his wish when Miya Ponsetto was arrested last Thursday evening by Ventura County Sheriff deputies just outside of Los Angeles. Ponsetto was charged in Manhattan on Saturday with two counts of attempted assault, attempted robbery, grand larceny and endangering the welfare of a child.

While the charges are not eligible for bail, she has to follow supervised release. Her next court appearance in New York is scheduled for March 29.

The Ventura County Sheriffs’ office coordinated the arrest with NYPD detectives, who arrived in California last Thursday to assist.

Ponsetto, who is White, viciously attacked Kenyon Harrold Jr., an African American teen, in a hotel lobby after she falsely claimed the youth stole her iPhone.

“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,” said Crump before the arrest was made. In 2020 he has represented the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Jacob Blake.

During the last week of 2020, a spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., confirmed that the office was investigating the assault on Harrold Jr., the son of jazz trumpeter Kenyon Harrold.

The incident, which the senior Harrold captured on cell phone video, occurred on Dec. 26 at the Arlo Hotel, a boutique four-star hotel in New York’s Soho section.

While the Harrold’s were grabbing breakfast, the still-unidentified White woman lashed out, tackled, and scratched the innocent teen, accusing him of stealing her phone.

When the elder Harrold stepped in with his camera recording the incident, the woman allegedly assaulted the Grammy-winner as well.

She then confronted a hotel manager and accused Harrold, Jr., of stealing her phone and again lunges at the youth.

“Take the case off, that’s mine,” the angry woman yells in the video. “Literally, get it back,” she demands of the hotel manager.

A few minutes later, the woman’s missing phone was returned by an Uber driver, who noted that she mistakenly left it in the car.

“I am furious,” the elder Harrold, who counts Prince, Common, and Dr. Dre as influences, wrote on Instagram.

“We see this crap happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home. I typically try to keep things positive, but nothing about this video is positive.”

The hotel issued an apology and called the Harrolds’ experience “inexcusable” before adding that “more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute.”

Crump remained furious.

“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,” Crump exclaimed.

“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,” Crump added. “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.”