Black Teen's Accuser Retreats on Her Apology

Miya Ponsetto suggests Black teen may have stolen her phone after all
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 11, 2021 4:19 PM CST
Teen's Accuser Is Sorry, 'but at the Same Time...'
Keyon Harrold speaks about his son at a news conference Monday in New York with Kat Ridriguez, the teenager's mother.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A white woman who wrongly accused a Black teenager of stealing her cellphone and tackled him at a New York City hotel appeared to back off her apology in a TV interview that aired Monday, suggesting without evidence that maybe he did try to steal her phone after all. "So, maybe it wasn't him, but at the same time how is it so that as soon as I get asked to leave the premises after I had accused this person of stealing my phone, how is that all of a sudden they just miraculously have my phone at the back?" Miya Ponsetto, 22, said on CBS This Morning. The interview was conducted Thursday, hours before Ponsetto was arrested in California in connection with the Dec. 26 confrontation with 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr., the AP reports. Ponsetto was charged Saturday in New York with attempted robbery, grand larceny, acting in a manner injurious to a child and two counts of attempted assault, city police reported. On Monday, Harrold's parents called for a boycott of the Arlo Hotel, where the incident happened, per the New York Post.

Security video shows Ponsetto frantically grabbing at Harrold as he tries to get away from her in the Manhattan hotel. The teen's father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, has said that Ponsetto's phone had been left in an Uber and was returned by the driver. In the first part of the interview, broadcast Friday, Ponsetto said: "I don't feel that that is who I am as a person. I don't feel like this one mistake does define me." She was combative in the clips that aired Monday, interrupting host Gayle King and her own attorney. Ponsetto said she was "sorry from the bottom of my heart" but added: "He’s 14? That’s what they’re claiming? Yeah, I'm 22, I've lived probably just the same amount of life, like honestly. I'm just as a kid at heart as he is." In the Friday portion, she said: "I feel sorry that I made the family go through all that stress but at the same time it wasn’t just them going through that. But I do sincerely from the bottom of my heart apologize that if I made the son feel as if I assaulted him or if I hurt his feelings or the father's feelings." (Ponsetto left the hotel before police arrived.)

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