NEW YORK - A woman who was nicknamed ‘Soho Karen’ after video of a racially-motivated attack on a Black teenager at a New York City hotel went viral last year, has pleaded guilty to hate crime charges for the incident.
Miya Ponsetto, now 23, pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a hate crime Monday, according to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr.
Ponsetto went viral in December 2020, when a video surfaced of her at the Arlo SoHo Hotel, falsely accusing a Black teenager of stealing her cell phone. In the video, Ponsetto can be seen refusing to let the boy and his family leave the hotel, lunging at the videographer and the teenager. She can also be seen tackling the teen in hotel surveillance footage.
Ponsetto reportedly had her phone returned to her later, after apparently leaving it in an Uber. She was arrested in January 2021 in Ventura County, days after the attack.
"Ms. Ponsetto displayed outrageous behavior," Bragg said. "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."
Under the plea agreement announced Monday, Ponsetto will have to adhere to the terms of her probation for another case in California. At the time of the viral SoHo video, Ponsetto was on parole after pleading no contest to a local DUI arrest in May 2020, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
If Ponsetto complies, the Manhattan DA says she'll be able to re-plead to aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor. If she doesn't she could face anywhere from 16 months to four years in New York state prison.
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