A woman who wrongfully accused a black teenager of stealing her iPhone before tackling him in a New York City hotel lobby late last year is now facing hate crime charges for her actions.
What are the details?
Miya Ponsetto, a 22-year-old California woman dubbed "SoHo Karen" by the media, faces a litany of charges for the incident, including two counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, one count of second-degree aggravated harassment, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.
According to the New York Times, Ponsetto was arraigned in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan over video conference on Wednesday. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A viral video of the incident, which took place Dec. 26, shows Ponsetto confronting then-14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in SoHo.
In the video, recorded by Keyon's father, well-known jazz musician Keyon Harrold, Ponsetto can be heard yelling, "No, I'm not letting him walk away with my phone!" before grabbing the teenager and pulling him to the ground.
Ponsetto's phone reportedly was later found in an Uber driver's car.
The Harrold family and the attorneys representing them immediately expressed outrage over the incident and claimed that they were the victims of egregious racial profiling. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance's office agreed and decided to aggressively prosecute the issue. Vance's office had already brought attempted robbery and grand larceny charges against Ponsetto earlier this year.
In response to the new hate crime charges, Ponsetto's attorney, Paul D'Emilia, slammed Vance's office for choosing a "craven and opportunistic path in indicting" his client.
"Today marked another low point in out-going Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's checkered administration," D'Emilia reportedly said in a statement.
"The charges alleged are a brazen and clear overreach of the intent of the statute. In sum, they are absurd, and a perversion of our legal system," he went on to say. "As truly violent criminals maraud and run rampant through New York City, this DA exhibits zero interest in law enforcement and prosecution. Instead, he turns his prosecutorial fury on a distraught and panicked young woman stranded without her lifeline, her phone, thousands of miles from home. Shameful."
Here's more about the incident:
'SoHo Karen' sued by family of Black teen falsely accused of stealing phone in viral video www.youtube.com