Miya Ponsetto, who tackled a Black teen over a suspected cell phone theft, avoided jail time earlier this week, and the news isn’t sitting well with some people. In an interview with TMZ, jazz musician Keyon Harrold and civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump shared their thoughts on Ponsetto’s plea deal in the assault case of Harrold’s namesake son.
“It is our belief if Miya Ponsetto was an African American woman, and she committed assault and battery on a young white teenager, falsely, that she would have been charged and convicted of a felony,” Crump told the outlet. “There’s institutions that have the implicit bias cooked into their foundation. The individuals come and go, but the institutions produce the same outcomes.”
He continued, “Black people get the most of injustice and the least of justice. No matter who is in the office.”
Ponsetto targeted Harrold Jr. last year under the mistaken assumption that he’d stolen her cell phone. She confronted him in the lobby of the Arlo Soho hotel in Manhattan and tackled him in an attempt to take his phone. Her actual cell, which she’d accidentally left in an Uber, was returned to the hotel hours later. She has since been given the nickname “Soho Karen.”
In the TMZ interview, Harrold was seemingly confused by the reason for the assault. “I still don’t understand…what was going through her mind,” he said. “What validated her, what made it even possible to attack a young kid in such a way. I don’t really understand it.” He claimed that Ponsetto never issued an apology to his son.
Soho Karen initially faced charges, including unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, endangering the welfare of a child, and aggravated harassment, and pleaded not guilty to the allegations. In an interview with Gayle King, she apologized for her actions. “I’m traumatized. I’m sorry. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart,” she began. “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,” Ponsetto continued. “… I’m sincerely sorry to the family and the dad and the son for making them feel as if I was racist towards them when that is not my intention.”
Ponsetto is now required to serve two years on probation following her plea deal. Crump and Harrold believe the Arlo hotel should be held accountable as Soho Karen was not a guest at the time of the incident.