Keyon Harrold Jr.’s parents compare Miya Ponsetto to Emmet Till’s accuser
'I'm happy that she's been arrested. But that's only the first step in a very big conversation,' said Harrold Sr.
During an interview on “CBS This Morning” with Gayle King, the parents of Keyon Harrold Jr. open up regarding their son’s attack and the arrest of Miya Ponsetto, who falsely accused the teenager of stealing her iPhone.
“I’m happy that she’s been arrested. But that’s only the first step in a very big conversation that needs to happen here in America that has to do with racial profiling,” remarked Keyond Harrold Sr. “If I had done that, what Miya Ponsetto had done to my son, I’d be in jail now. If I had hurt her in any way, I’d be in jail now. We wouldn’t even be able to have this conversation. As a Black man, every day I walk outside, I have to play the perfect game, almost like throwing a no-hitter just to be believed.”
He and his son’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, shared the magnitude of the moment on a grand scale as well as the personal impact Ponsetto has had on their family. The 14-year-old’s mom expressed disdain toward the hotel for allowing the incident to escalate into a violent encounter.
“I’m so angry. I’m so angry at that hotel ’cause this could’ve been de-escalated. This could’ve been de-escalated a long time ago,” said Rodriguez.
According to the New York Times, the Arlo hotel apologized and seemingly agreed. The outlet reported in the statement, the hotel confirmed that “more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute.”
Ponsetto herself issued her version of an apology to the Harrold family during an interview with King.
“Yeah, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. He is honestly — he’s 14? That’s what they’re claiming? Yeah. I’m 22. I’ve lived probably just the same amount of life as him. Like, honestly. I’m just as a kid at heart as he is. I feel sorry that I made the family go through, like, all of that stress. But at the same time, it wasn’t just them going through that,” she remarked.
Harrold Sr. and Rodriguez do not fully accept her apology as sincere.
“Listen, I feel like her apology was, you know, as genuine as when she shushed you. It said a lot. I have an issue with the idea of entitlement versus character,” said the father.
The mother followed up, “Yeah. “I apologize. Can we move on?” Those were the exact words that she used with you. Does that sound like an apology? She knew she assaulted a 14-year-old boy. Not a guy, not a man.”
According to his parents, the teenager is traumatized from the assault.
“When I went to hug him from behind, because I just, you know, we have such a great relationship. He said, “Mom.” He tensed up. He literally tensed up. He said, “Mom, can I ask you not to do that? It — I can’t. I can’t. I can’t,” Rodriguez shared.
Harrold Sr. added, ” It’s tough to look at her being arrested more than what it is. Because the person who killed Trayvon Martin is free. The person who blamed Emmett Till is still alive. Things could’ve gone another way.”
theGrio reported Ponsetto was released from custody following her arrest for her role in the viral attack. According to the report, she was brought from her home state of California to New York to face charges of attempted robbery, attempted assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and grand larceny in the fourth degree. She is ordered to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court on March 29.
According to the Times, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he agrees with criminal charges.
“When someone does something like this, they have to suffer consequences,” de Blasio stated. “And there needs to be real action here by the criminal justice system to make sure there are consequences in this case.”
Civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump is representing the Harrold family. In a statement to the New York Times, he also aligned Ponsetto’s actions with Till’s accuser’s notorious lies.
“This has larger implications,” Mr. Crump said. “It was Emmett Till who was falsely accused and racially profiled that led to him being killed.”
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