Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of MIYA PONSETTO, 23, for falsely accusing a Black teenager of stealing her cellphone, and then attacking him at the Arlo SoHo Hotel in December 2020. PONSETTO pleaded guilty to Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree as a Hate Crime. Under the terms of the plea, PONSETTO will be required for two years to abide by the terms of her California probation stemming from a separate case, continue counseling, and avoid further interaction with the criminal justice system. If PONSETTO successfully follows these terms, she can then replead to Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor. If she does not comply, she faces up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.
“Ms. Ponsetto displayed outrageous behavior. As a Black man, I have personally experienced racial profiling countless times in my life and I sympathize with the young man victimized in this incident. This plea ensures appropriate accountability for Ms. Ponsetto by addressing underlying causes for her behavior and ensuring this conduct does not reoccur,” said District Attorney Bragg.
After making false accusations that the 14-year-old victim had stolen her cell phone, PONSETTO then repeatedly attacked and dragged him to the floor, despite attempts of numerous witnesses to intervene.
Assistant District Attorneys Sarah Marquez and Stephanie Ritter handled the case under the supervision of Jeanne Olivo and Hannah Yu; assisted by Trial Preparation Assistant Molly Ketterer and analysts Sasha Hodson, Alexandria Pontious, and Lydia Culp. DANY Investigators Ralph Hanna and Jeff Salta, and Detectives Kenneth Rosello and Alistair Bascom from NYPD also assisted with the case.
- Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree as a Hate Crime, a class E felony, one count
- Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count