Keyon Harrold Jr.’s family to file lawsuit against hotel, woman who falsely accused teen

The family of a teenager accosted at a New York City hotel is suing the woman responsible

It looks like Miya Ponsetto and the Arlo Hotel in New York City’s Manhattan will now have to answer to the courts.

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The young woman who made headlines over the winter for assaulting a Black teenager last December is now facing a lawsuit. On Wednesday, Keyon Harrold Jr.’s family filed a lawsuit against the woman and the hotel where the incident occurred, per New York’s CBS affiliate.

“This is racial profiling 101, America,” said the family’s attorney Benjamin Crump, who has been the lawyer of record in several civil rights cases.

“This is a test — New York, will you back this law up?” asked Kat Rodriguez, the boy’s mother.

A video of Ponsetto assaulting the teenager immediately went viral after she accused him of stealing her cell phone. During hte altercation, the hotel manager also questioned the boy. though it was later discovered that he did not take her phone.

“They violated the human rights law of New York City,” added attorney Paul Napoli.

Keyon Harrold, Sr., a jazz trumpeter, played “This Land Is Your Land” at the announcement, saying that the classic folk song, written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 represented his son’s right to occupy space without harassment in a free country.

Keyon Harrold Jr. Crump Miya Ponsetto
Keyon Harrold Jr. (Twitter) and Miya Ponsetto

“My son was targeted as a Black man and this needs to stop right now,” Harrold Sr. said.

As reported by theGrio, Ponsetto is also facing charges.

Ponsetto was taken into custody in Los Angeles after being located as a result of a collaborative investigation led by the Ventura County Sheriff’s office and NYPD, TMZ reports. Ponsetto had traveled back to California following the Dec. 26 incident and had reportedly been evading law enforcement at her mother’s home.

The 22-year-old faces charges for assaulting a 14-year-old and attempted robbery.

As theGrio previously reported, Ponsetto stormed inside the Arlo SoHo Hotel in Manhattan accusing Harrold Jr., 14, of stealing her iPhone. She also charged at him and dragged him to the ground. Harrold’s father, Keyon Harrold Sr., was also present and filmed the encounter which went viral the day after Christmas.

Despite initially claiming she was the one who was assaulted, security footage would later confirm that Ponsetto was the only aggressor. Since then, the Harrold family has retained legal representation and publicly demanded that Ponsetto be arrested.

According to TMZ, Ponsetto has a history of breaking the law. She’s been arrested twice for a DUI in 2020 and was charged with public intoxication with her mother in Beverly Hills. Recently, Ponsetto claimed her attack was a result of her anxiety, however, as theGrio reported, Harrold Jr. is seeking therapy for his own mental health after the ordeal.

According to the report, the teenager asked his father, “Why me?” after the now-viral moment

Ponsetto’s attorney, Sharen H. Ghatan, told TMZ that her client is “emotionally and mentally fragile,” has “gone rogue” and has not heeded her lawyer’s advice.

“Miya has not grasped the severity of her circumstances. She is expressly disregarding advice and has gone rogue,” Ghatan said.

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“I had an in-person meeting with Miya today, and after seeing her in person, I was able to determine she is simply unwell. She is emotionally and mentally fragile. I was forced to cancel national interviews due to my concern of her wellbeing and lack of understanding of the process. I am here to guide her as legal counsel – but if she is unwilling to take my advice, there is not much more I can do.”

Additional reporting by Gerren Keith Gaynor

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