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CA Woman Admits Hate Crime; Accused Black Teen of Taking Phone

A California woman pleaded guilty to a hate crime in New York City for falsely accusing a Black teenager of stealing her phone. Miya Ponsetto, 23, was at the Arlo Hotel in December 2020 when she got into a confrontation with Keyon Harrold Jr., 14, about a cellphone, NPR reports. Video shows her grabbing at him as he tried to get away. Her phone was found in an Uber. Ponsetto of Piru, Ca., was arrested in her home state last year and convicted of evading law enforcement, disobeying a peace officer and resisting arrest. Ponsetto will have a chance to replead to a misdemeanor aggravated harassment charge and avoid time behind bars if she follows the terms of a plea agreement, reports the Associated Press. Ponsetto must abide by the terms of her probation for a separate drunk driving and resisting arrest case in her home state for two years, continue to receive counseling and have no further arrests. If she does not comply, she faces up to four years in prison..

Ponsetto has apologized but defended herself in a television interview. "I don't feel that that is who I am as a person. I don't feel like this one mistake does define me," she told CBS This Morning. "But I do sincerely from the bottom of my heart apologize that if I made the son feel as if I assaulted him or if I hurt his feelings or the father's feelings." The family of the teen has filed a lawsuit against Ponsetto and the hotel, alleging racial profiling.


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