Pictured: Miya Ponsetto, 22 of Piru. Ventura County Sheriff’s Office booking photo, Jan. 7, 2020. 

by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

Miya Ponsetto, 22, of Piru, is out of jail on supervised release in New York City pending a court hearing on March 29, after being arrested at her home on Jan. 7. She was arrested on a fugitive warrant related to charges that she assaulted a 14-year-old teenager, whom she falsely accused of taking her cell phone, in a New York City hotel on Dec. 26.

The teen did not have Ponsetto’s phone. The hotel located the phone after the incident and it was returned to Ponsetto. 

On Jan. 7, Ponsetto initially failed to stop the vehicle she was driving near her home in Piru when deputies with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop. She instead drove to her residence, where police reported that she refused to get out of her vehicle. Deputies then forcibly removed her from her vehicle and took her into custody. She was booked into a pre-trial detention center and held for arraignment until agreeing to be extradited to New York City to face charges of attempted assault, endangering the welfare of a child, attempted robbery and attempted grand larceny. 

New York City police officers had come to Ventura County to assist in coordinating the arrest. 

Video footage from Dec. 26 shows Ponsetto at the Arlo SoHo Hotel in New York City accusing a 14-year-old Black teenager of stealing her cell phone. Ponsetto first tried to compel a hotel manager to take the phone from the teen, and then grabbed the teenager to get the phone. The phone belonged to the teenager, not Ponsetto. 

The case has garnered national attention amid the teen’s father, musician Keyon Harrold, stating Ponsetto’s accusation and subsequent assault was rooted in racism. 

In a Jan. 7 interview with Gayle King of CBS This Morning, just hours before being arrested, Ponsetto denied any racism, stating that she herself is “Italian, Greek, Puerto Rican,” and so she cannot be racist. Ponsetto also claimed that her actions were justified because she didn’t know where her phone was and because ultimately the hotel was able to locate her phone that had been lost.