The California woman who was seen on cellphone video falsely accusing a Black teenager of stealing her iPhone before appearing to physically attack him has pleaded guilty to a felony in New York in a deal that allows her to avoid jail time.
Miya Ponsetto a.k.a. "Soho Karen," pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced Monday.
Who is 'Soho Karen'?
Ponsetto, 23, went viral in December 2020 after assaulting a black teen and accusing him of stealing her iPhone in the lobby of NYC's Arlo Hotel.
The teen's father, Grammy-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold, shared footage of the altercation on social media, showing a masked Ponsetto demanding staff at the Arlo Hotel in Soho to get her iPhone back from the teen after accusing him of stealing it, as previously reported. Surveillance footage also captured Ponsetto tackling the boy to the ground, before her phone was returned by an Uber driver. Watch the video below:
Ponsetto was arrested in California in January last year and charged with two counts of attempted assault, attempted robbery grand larceny, and endangering the welfare of a child. In July, a grand jury indicted her on two counts of unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a hate crime, aggravated harassment in the second degree, and endangering the welfare of a child.
Ponsetto on Probation for 2 Years, to Continue Counselling
As part of a deal she cut with prosecutors, Ponsetto will be able to replead to aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor, if she continues counseling and avoids any interaction with the criminal justice system for two years, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said.
"You have been given a tremendous opportunity," Justice Laura Ward told Ponsetto in Manhattan Supreme Court Monday. "Turn this lousy situation into a good situation so you never find yourself here again."
If she fails to comply with the terms in the agreement, Ponsetto could face up to four years in prison. Ward also warned Ponsetto to have no contact with the Harrold family for the next two years.
"Ms. Ponsetto displayed outrageous behavior," Bragg said in his press release. "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. This plea ensures appropriate accountability for Ms. Ponsetto by addressing underlying causes for her behavior and ensuring this conduct does not reoccur."