Woman Who Accosted Jazz Musician’s Son, Falsely Accusing Him of Theft, Has Been Arrested
UPDATE (1/9): New York police say Miya Ponsetto faces charges of third-degree attempted robbery, grand larceny, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and two counts of attempted assault.
UPDATE (1/8): The woman who allegedly accosted jazz musician Keyon Harrold and his teenage son after falsely accusing the 14-year-old of stealing her phone has been arrested, according to ABC. Miya Ponsetto fled California authorities when the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department tried to stop her vehicle due to a warrant out for her arrest in New York. When she finally stopped her car, she put up a fight and had to be restrained.
Grammy-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold posted a video on Sunday in which an unknown woman accosted Harrold and his teenage son at a New York City hotel on Saturday, falsely accusing the young man of stealing her phone.
“I hate I have to post this,” Harrold, a Rolling Stone Artist You Need to Know, wrote in the video’s caption. “I typically try to keep things positive, but nothing about this video is positive. The lady in this video assaulted my 14-year-old son and me as we came down from our room in the Arlo Soho to get breakfast. This person quote on quote ‘lost’ her iPhone, and apparently, my son magically acquired it, which merely ridiculous.”
The video shows a woman wearing a face covering alternately hiding behind the hotel’s manager and lunging at Harrold and his son, Keyon Junior. The manager asks the boy to show the woman the home screen and Harrold declines. In the caption, he writes that he was a current guest of the hotel, while the woman — who said she checked out on the 23rd — came in from the street. She proceeded to scratch him and tackle his son. Harrold reports that the woman’s phone was soon returned by an Uber driver. “No apology from her after this traumatic situation to my son, not me,” he wrote. “No apologies from the establishment. This shit happens so often. It needs to stop!!! If anyone recognizes this person, please tag or DM.”
Harrold told The New York Times he believed he had been racially profiled by the woman: “I wonder what would happen if it were different, if it were a black woman and there was a white 14-year-old,” he said. “They assumed he was guilty. The management didn’t even question her as to why she would even think he had the phone.”
The hotel apologized to the Harrold family in a statement: “We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel.”
Harrold posted an update later in the day Sunday, clarifying that he decided to post the video due to the lack of sufficient response from the hotel: “Before posting this video yesterday, we prayed about how this would impact us as a family and above all how it would impact our son. We asked for advice from professionals and weighed the decision for several hours. The only reason we decided to go public and post on social media was because the hotel which had a security guard on duty let this young lady leave while waiting for the police to respond after she assaulted my son several times.”
Harrold filed a police report Saturday and the NYPD confirmed to the Times that they are currently investigating the incident. Harrold’s latest statement also entreats fans and colleagues to refrain from seeking out the woman in question and meting out justice, following an incident in which a travel influencer was wrongly ID’d as the woman in the video, leading to an onslaught of ire on her Instagram page. “We will share the guilty party when we properly ID them. Until then, please do to others as you would want them to do to you,” the family wrote.