A woman seen on video tackling a Black teenager she had falsely accused of stealing her iPhone has now been charged with a felony hate crime in addition to other charges relating to the Dec. 26 confrontation at a New York City hotel. California resident Miya Ponsetto, 22, has been indicted on four new charges, including two counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, CNN reports. She appeared via videolink in a Manhattan courtroom Wednesday, where her lawyer entered a not guilty plea. In January, she was arrested on charges including assault and attempted robbery. Ponsetto is on supervised release and her next court date will be in October.
In the confrontation at the Arlo Hotel, Ponsetto accused the 14-year-old son of jazz musician Keyon Harrold of stealing her phone, which she had actually left in an Uber. Harrold said he was scratched in a scuffle when Ponsetto tackled his son and tried to look in his pockets. He tells the New York Times that months later, the incident still brings back strong emotions. "Our life changed because somebody having the entitlement and idea that just because of the way my son looked he was the one who stole her property, which is so ridiculous," he says. Ponsetto has argued that she can't be racist because she is of Puerto Rican descent. Her lawyer calls the new charges an "absurd" overreach. (In January, Ponsetto backtracked on her apology.)