The day after Christmas, in the lobby of a tony lower Manhattan hotel, a 22-year-old woman misplaced her cellphone. Somewhat intemperately, she accused a 14-year-old boy standing nearby of having stolen it. The boy’s father, noted jazz musician Keyon Harrold, filmed Miya Ponsetto as she had a meltdown — she screamed and yelled and chased his son, tackling him to the ground.
As it turned out, Ponsetto had left her phone in a cab, and the driver shortly returned it to her. Sounds like a pretty stupid dustup, but all’s well that ends well, right? Not so fast. Because the teen, Keyon Harrold Jr., is black, and Miya Ponsetto — who says she’s Puerto Rican — is not, this incident has become national news, another example, according to Al Sharpton, of black people being “assaulted because of the color of their skin.”
Mayor de Blasio also averred that Ponsetto’s accusation and assault were “racism, pure and simple,” though at no point in the confrontation did Ponsetto say anything pertaining to Harrold’s race. The incident has now escalated to the point that the NYPD sent detectives to Los Angeles, where Ponsetto — who already has a colorful criminal record of impaired driving and being a public nuisance — lives. She was questioned, arrested, and returned to New York City, so she can face charges of “attempted robbery.”
Seth Barron is associate editor of City Journal. This piece was adapted from City Journal.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images