The woman who was dubbed ‘SoHo Karen’ when she attacked a black teen after falsely accusing him of stealing her iPhone at a New York City hotel has been arrested in California.
Miya Ponsetto, 22, was taken into custody on a warrant from New York on Thursday after a brief car chase with police in Ventura County, California, the New York Daily News reported.
‘They had to pull her out of the car. They did use physical force,’ Eric Buschow, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, told the outlet.
‘She tried to slam the door on the leg of one of our deputies and so she was forcibly removed from the vehicle.’
‘SoHo Karen’ Miya Ponsetto (pictured) was arrested in Ventura County, California, on Thursday
Ponsetto was dubbed ‘SoHo Karen’ after she was seen in a now-viral video (left) falsely accusing African American jazz artist Keyon Harrold’s son Keyon Jr. (right) of stealing her iPhone at the Arlo Hotel
Police launched an investigation into Ponsetto after she was filmed violently confronting Keyon Harrold Jr, the son of Grammy-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold, at the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan on December 26.
In a video recorded by Harrold Sr, Ponsetto was seen pushing and grabbing at the father and son, allegedly even scratching Keyon Sr’s hands as she attempted to snatch his cellphone, wrongly believing it to be hers.
Moments after the scuffle concluded, her phone was reportedly found in an Uber and returned to her by the driver.
Detectives with the NYPD flew to California to interview her this week after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance signed off on attempted robbery charges.
Ponsetto’s lawyer, Sharen Ghatan, told the Daily News that she met with her client hours before the arrest.
‘I have no clue if she’s in custody. I had a difficult day with her,’ Ghatan said.
‘We had an interview lined up, and within 10 to 15 minutes, I realized she was not well, not mentally fit to do any interviews.
‘So I’m not surprised this has happened, if she’s in custody. I haven’t heard it.
‘She was very much MIA for a while, and when she finally came to the big interview, it was clear to me she shouldn’t be there. I’m concerned for her wellbeing.’
A lawyer for Ponsetto claimed that she was having an anxiety attack during the incident and insisted that it was not racially motivated
On Wednesday Ghatan claimed that Ponsetto was having an anxiety attack during the hotel incident and insisted that it was not racially motivated.
‘Miya is young, She let her emotions get the best of her. That phone could have been in hand of 90-year-old grandma, an Asian person.. someone Black or blue. It wasn’t a race related issue. Things took a life of their own,’ Ghatan told NBC.
The lawyer explained that Ponsetto, who is from California, had been traveling alone while visiting her father in New York City for Christmas.
She had been relying on her phone to help her navigate the city and became nervous and ‘triggered’ after realizing she had lost it.
‘She was a scared girl alone in a city she doesn’t know and lost her one point of contact for her numbers. She lost her mind for a hot minute. She is sorry,’ Ghatan added.
She said Ponsetto has since acknowledged that she lost her temper and acted inappropriately and ‘wouldn’t do it again’. She now wants to ‘give peace to the family’ and apologize.
The NYPD released surveillance footage of Ponsetto tackling 14-year-old Keyon Jr to the ground in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel after she accused him of stealing her iPhone
Harrold Sr. and Keyon Jr.’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, held a rally in Manhattan for their son on Wednesday, alongside civil rights attorney Ben Crump (right) and Rev. Al Sharpton (left)
Ghatan said she and Ponsetto have contacted attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Harrold family, in hopes of arranging a meeting, but have yet to hear back.
‘It’s horrible, what happened. She certainly should not have done that. She has some things she has to work through with herself, control issues, anger management issues. Of course she knows that,’ Ghatan said.
‘She wants to clarify and give peace to the family. She’s mixed race. She specifically said it’s not about race. The way she talks, it’s not even an issue. It was the phone.’
The lawyer denied accusations that Ponsetto was a ‘lady of privilege’, adding that she is of Puerto Rican descent who works ‘9-5 at a typical place’.
Ponsetto plans to address the controversy publicly when the time is right, but is ‘fragile’ at the moment, Ghatan told NBC.
Ponsetto’s mother and her attorney have expressed concern over her well-being, telling TMZ she has gone off the grid and has not been responding to messages.
They told the tabloid she has received threats and even visits to her home from strangers.
Thursday’s arrest isn’t the first time Ponsetto has had a brush with law enforcement.
Court records obtained by TMZ showed the 22-year-old was arrested twice for driving under the influence of alcohol last year – once in May and again in October.
Those incidents followed a separate arrest back in February, when she and her mother were charged for drunkenly refusing to leave a hotel in Los Angeles.
Miya Ponsetto was spotted making a food run to McDonald’s last Saturday when she was stopped by a reporter