Woman Who Falsely Accused Black Teen Reaches Plea Deal

Miya Ponsetto has pleaded guilty to NYC crime
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2022 6:11 PM CDT
Plea Deal Could Keep 'SoHo Karen' Out of Jail
A 2021 police booking photo of Miya Ponsetto   (Ventura County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

A woman who attacked a Black teenager in New York City after falsely accusing him of stealing her iPhone has reached a deal that will keep her out of prison—if she stays out of trouble. Under a plea deal announced Monday, Miya Ponsetto, who was seen on camera shouting at and tackling the 14-year-old, has pleaded to false imprisonment as a hate crime, NBC reports. Prosecutors say she can re-plead and have the charge reduced to misdemeanor aggravated harassment if she lives "a law-abiding life" for the next two years.

Ponsetto, 23, will be required to abide by the terms of her probation in an unrelated case in California. Failure to do so could result in her being sentenced to four years in prison in the New York case, TMZ reports. Ponsetto was nicknamed "SoHo Karen" after the December 2020 incident in Manhattan's Arlo Hotel. She confronted the boy while he was with his father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold. It later emerged that she had left her phone in an Uber.

Ponsetto "displayed outrageous behavior," Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement Monday, per ABC7. "As a Black man, I have personally experienced racial profiling countless times in my life and I sympathize with the young man victimized in this incident." The plea, he said, "ensures appropriate accountability for Ms. Ponsetto by addressing underlying causes for her behavior and ensuring this conduct does not reoccur." (More racial profiling stories.)

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