The California woman accused of an attempted assault on a teenage boy in a Manhattan hotel is also being investigated in connection with damage to the Airbnb apartment where she was staying, the New York Post is reporting.
Miya Ponsetto, 22, of Piru (Ventura County) was extradited to New York and arraigned Saturday evening on charges of attempted assault, endangering the welfare of a child, attempted robbery and attempted grand larceny, according to charging documents.
She was granted supervised release while awaiting further court dates and has returned to California, Manhattan DA spokeswoman Naomi Puzzello told CNN. The judge also granted orders of protection for the victims.
The charges arose from a Dec. 26 incident in which Ponsetto allegedly assaulted a 14-year-old boy at the Arlo Soho hotel and attempted to grab his phone out of his pocket. Ponsetto had lost her own phone and accused the boy of having taken it.
The same day, according to the Post, Ponsetto apparently locked herself out of an East Village apartment where she was staying and allegedly smashed a door with a fire extinguisher in an attempt to get in. No charges have been filed in that case.
Ponsetto’s next scheduled court appearance in the hotel incident is March 29.
The boy’s father, musician Keyon Harrold, posted video of the confrontation. It was widely shared on social media and seen as yet another example of racial profiling against Black men and boys. The NYPD is not investigating this incident as a case of racial bias.
Rodney Harrison, chief of detectives for the NYPD, has said Ponsetto’s phone was returned to her moments after the incident by the driver of an Uber vehicle she had ridden in.
Ponsetto has no criminal convictions, according to Manhattan prosecutors, but she does face three open cases in California, all stemming from separate incidents in 2020.
According to Puzzello’s email to CNN, Ponsetto was charged in late February with public intoxication after she, her mother and another person were involved in a physical altercation at a Beverly Hills hotel. In late May, she was charged with driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license. She was charged with driving under the influence again in early October, along with driving with a suspended license and resisting arrest.
As part of her supervised release, Ponsetto is not allowed to contact the victims in the case and she must appear at all her scheduled court dates for the unrelated open cases in California.
Her lawyer, Paul D’Emilia, accused the New York Police Department of choosing to “exacerbate the situation” by sending officers across the country to “bring back a person who would have returned with a simple telephone request.”
Puzzello’s email pointed out that despite widespread news coverage, Ponsetto never made an effort to surrender herself to authorities.
And when police officers attempted to pull her over Thursday in Piru, prosecutors said, she continued driving and, once she was in her driveway, refused to exit her vehicle and tried to slam her car door on an officer.
In an interview with CBS “This Morning” taped prior to her arrest, Ponsetto apologized and admitted she could have handled the situation in New York differently.
But she insisted race was not a factor and that her actions were not criminal, at one point appearing to try to justify her actions.
Characterizing herself as a “22-year-old girl,” she asked: “How would you feel if you were alone in New York and you know you were going to spend time with your family during the holidays and you lose the one thing that gets stolen from you that has all of the access to the only way that you’re able to get back home?”
She also told interviewer Gayle King: “I wasn’t racial profiling whatsoever. I’m a woman. I’m Puerto Rican. I’m, like, a woman of color. I’m Italian, Greek, Puerto Rican.”
King asked: “Does that mean that you can’t be racist because you’re saying you’re a woman of color?”
“Exactly,” Ponsetto responded.
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