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Law enforcement sources name suspect in attack on Black teen

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-01 22:25:25-05

SOHO, Manhattan — Law enforcement sources have confirmed to PIX11 News the identity of the woman who police say attacked the 14 year-old son of award-winning trumpeter Keyon Harrold.

Sources say that Miya Ponsetto, a 22-year-old from Simi Valley, California, carried out the attack after falsely accusing the boy of stealing her cellphone.

The crime happened on Saturday, Dec. 26. Still, Ponsetto has not been officially identified, or arrested.

On Friday, a group of Black fathers were joined by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at a news conference at NYPD headquarters in Lower Manhattan. They made their intentions very clear.

"We want an arrest," Adams said. "We want this woman apprehended and brought to justice."

Adams, a former NYPD captain and currently a Democratic candidate for mayor in 2021, said that he'd joined with the Real Dads Network for the news conference because he, too, is the Black father of a Black son.

Both Harrold and his teen son are Black.

Harrold recorded the encounter with Ponsetto on his cellphone. The video captures her demanding that the boy prove to her that his cellphone is not hers. The cellphone video has now been viewed millions of times on social media.

It happened around midday last Saturday as Harrold and his son were coming off an elevator from their room at the Arlo Hotel here, where they were guests. The cellphone video also captured the hotel manager also asking to see the boy's phone. The father tells his son in the video to refuse, because it's the teen's property.

In surveillance video of the incident, the woman is seen lunging at the boy, after he refuses to give her his property. She tackles him, and throws him to the floor. She also scratched Harrold, as he tried to protect his son. That's all according to the NYPD, which also made the surveillance video available to the public, and issued a digital wanted poster for the woman.

However, police are not officially releasing Ponsetto's name.

"The female individual has been positively identified and Detectives are endeavoring to locate her," the NYPD said in a statement.

That didn't suffice for Adams and the Black fathers' group.

"When a perpetrator or a person who is accused of a crime is a person of color," Adams said, "there's an immediate description, ethnicity and identification. When it's not a person of color, there's a sense of, 'Let's be careful not to put the information out there too rapidly.'"

The woman fled the scene before officers arrived, the NYPD chief of detectives said earlier this week. He also said that she could face charges of assault, grand larceny, attempted robbery, and harassment.

The woman's cellphone ended up being turned in to her, shortly after the attack, by the driver of an Uber she'd been in earlier that day, according to Harrold and other sources.

They also said that Ponsetto had checked out of the hotel days before the incident.

"She should have been charged with trespassing, as well as the [other crimes]," said Adams. "Why has it taken this long?"