The black teen, 14, who was falsely accused of stealing an iPhone by the woman dubbed ‘SoHo Karen’ has been left traumatized and questioning ‘Why me?’, according to his concerned parents.
Keyon Harrold Jr. is said to be seeking therapy after he was tackled to the ground by 22-year-old Miya Ponsetto in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in New York City back on December 26.
The revelation that the boy is struggling with ongoing trauma following the incident comes as new details have also emerged about Ponsetto’s long rap sheet.
The 22-year-old was arrested on a second DUI charge in October just five days after being put on probation for her first one in May, according to court records obtained by TMZ.
This came after a separate arrest back in February with her mother for drunkenly refusing to leave a hotel in Los Angeles.
Ponsetto is yet to be slapped with any charges over the alleged assault on 14-year-old Keyon on Boxing Day but the boy’s family and civil rights attorneys are calling for her arrest.
The black teen Keyon Harrold Jr., 14, (left with his dad) who was falsely accused of stealing an iPhone by the woman dubbed ‘SoHo Karen’ has been left traumatized and questioning ‘Why me?’, according to his concerned parents
Keyon’s concerned father, Grammy-winning African American jazz artist Keyon Harrold, told TMZ he and the boy’s mom Kat Rodriguez are now in the process of choosing a trauma therapist for their son following the attack.
He said his son has been left ‘seriously traumatized’ and made to feel like a criminal, and is asking his parents: ‘Why me?’
Harrold said he has taught his son to have ‘dignity’ and an ‘ego’ as a young black man but the alleged assault has left Keyon racked with self-doubt.
‘I have tried to instill dignity in my son. I’m trying to build his ego, because for so long egos of Black men have been shattered,’ said Harrold.
He added that he often stays in hotels with his son because of his work as a musician.
But Keyon is becoming fearful of going to hotels due to concerns that the same thing will happen again and someone will accuse him of a crime.
‘He wonders if he’s good enough to own an iPhone, or whether he’s out of place at a nice hotel,’ Harrold said.
Miya Ponsetto was spotted making a food run to McDonald’s Saturday when she was stopped by a reporter. New details have also emerged about Ponsetto’s long rap sheet
The 22-year-old was arrested on a second DUI charge in October just five days after being put on probation for her first one in May, according to court records
Harrold said he is trying to convince his son that ‘you definitely belong, everywhere you go’ but that he thinks it will take professional help.
The alleged assault on Keyon came just two months after Ponsetto was arrested on a DUI charge, newly obtained court records reveal.
Ponsetto, who is currently holing up at her mom’s house in Piru, California, was arrested and charged with DUI, resisting arrest and obstructing or delaying a peace officer or EMT in Ventura County on October 3, reported TMZ.
She has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is due back in court on January 28.
However the October arrest came just five days after she was placed on probation over a May 28 DUI incident in Malibu.
Ponsetto was sentenced to three years probation, 30 hours of community service and ordered to take a nine-month alcohol/drug counseling program after pleading no contest.
Her October arrest could be a violation of her probation meaning she could face prison time, according to a letter sent to Los Angeles County.
Ponsetto was also arrested in February with her mother Nicole, 42, for drunkenly refusing to leave The Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ that when they arrived at the hotel and tried to get Ponsetto and her mother to leave, her mother allegedly pushed and kicked a cop.
Nicole was arrested on charges of battery on a police officer and being drunk in public, and Ponsetto was arrested on a charge of being drunk in public.
Ponsetto and her mom was charged over the incident on May 27 – the day before the first DUI arrest – and have a court hearing later this month over this incident.
Ponsetto was pictured picking up McDonald’s in California on Saturday where she told a reporter ‘I’m good’ and dismissed questions that about a warrant for her arrest.
‘I’m actually 22, so I don’t know what the problem is here – and I’m also Puerto Rican. Take care of yourself!’ she said.
Ponsetto and her mom Nicole, 43, were arrested at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills
Ponsetto was arrested for being intoxicated in public by Beverly Hills PD in February
Miya was seen in exclusive DailyMail.com photos making the quick trip to the fast foot restaurant in Fillmore, California – her first outing since being unmasked as the woman who accosted Keyon.
Her mom also appeared to get into a spot of bother over the weekend after being stopped by Ventura Country sheriff’s officers on Sunday.
At least two patrol cars were on scene as she traveled through Fillmore close to her home in Piru, a small farming town approximately 30 miles north of Los Angeles.
In exclusive DailyMail.com photos, Nicole was seen without wearing a face mask as a deputy approached her car before eventually putting one on.
After a short while, another officer appears on scene, however it is not clear why the Range Rover she and he daughter both drive was stopped just a few miles from their home.
NYPD officers confirmed last week they were looking at a variety of options, including assault, grand larceny and attempted robbery before Ponsetto was unmasked as the suspect on New Year’s Eve.
Harrold, first tweeted a video of the 22-year-old grabbing at the child while repeatedly accusing him of snatching her phone.
He captioned it: ‘On Saturday, December 26, the woman in this video falsely accused an innocent 14-year-old teenager of stealing her cellphone.
Ponsetto is seen at home in California. It’s not clear when she departed New York City
Ponsetto shot to infamy after Keyon Jr’s father, Grammy-winning jazz artist Keyon Harrold, posted a video of the 22-year-old grabbing at the child while repeatedly accusing him of snatching her phone
Ponsetto has denied assaulting Keyon Jr and on Thursday, provided a rambling 20-minute phone interview to CNN. In it, she claimed she was assaulted during the altercation with Keyon Sr. and his son, though she failed to provide further details, including who allegedly assaulted her. She was spotted grabbing McDonald’s in Fillmore, California
‘She then proceeded to physically attack him and fled the location before police officers arrived on scene.’
A second video released by the NYPD shows Ponsetto, who was swiftly dubbed SoHo Karen, running at the child and grabbing at his waist.
It shows four people – the woman identified as Ponsetto, Keyon, Keyon Jr. and another individual – standing at the bottom of the stairs in the lobby.
Keyon Jr. starts to walk away in the direction of the hotel doors.
At this point, Ponsetto runs and grabs the 14-year-old around the waist, latching onto him as the boy’s father runs after them.
They pass through the automatic doors in the lobby as the boy tries to shake her off, turning around as she appears to tackle him to the ground.
A close-up of Ponsetto’s face is shown with ‘wanted’ emblazoned across it as the police urged anyone with information about her whereabouts to contact the NYPD.
‘On Saturday, December 26, the woman in this video falsely accused an innocent 14-year-old teenager of stealing her cellphone,’ Harrison tweeted.
‘She then proceeded to physically attack him and fled the location before police officers arrived on scene.’
Moments after the video ended, an Uber driver arrived with Ponsetto’s phone, which she had left in the vehicle.
The NYPD has released new surveillance footage of Ponsetto, dubbed ‘SoHo Karen’, tackling the 14-year-old son of a black musician to the ground in a New York City hotel while accusing him of stealing her phone
The video, shared on social media Wednesday night by NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison, shows Ponsetto suddenly run at Keyon Harrold Jr. and grab him by the waist in the Arlo Hotel on Saturday
The new footage casts new light on Saturday’s events in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan. It shows four people – identified as Ponsetto, Keyon, Keyon Jr. and another individual standing at the bottom of the stairs in the lobby
Keyon Jr. starts to walk away in the direction of the hotel doors. At this point, Ponsetto runs and grabs the 14-year-old around the waist, latching on to him as the boy’s father runs after them. They pass through the automatic doors in the lobby as the boy tries to shake her off
Ponsetto appears to tackle the boy to the ground in the altercation. Its release comes just hours after the 22-year-old gave a rambling interview to CNN where she denied racially profiling the boy and claimed it was her who was assaulted in the dispute
Ponsetto has denied assaulting Keyon Jr, and on Thursday provided a rambling 20-minute phone interview to CNN.
In it, she claimed she was assaulted during the altercation with Keyon Sr. and his son, though failed to provide further details, including who allegedly assaulted her.
Her allegation has not been corroborated by investigators or any witnesses to the December 26 incident.
Harrold and Keyon Jr.’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, staged a rally in Manhattan on Wednesday alongside their attorney Ben Crump and Reverend Al Sharpton.
‘When I saw this story, I thought about how I was one of those kids whose father never took him anywhere for Christmas, never had brunch with my father,’ Sharpton said.
‘And for this black man to take his black son, put him in a hotel during a pandemic, and spend Christmas with him, raising him, and to be assaulted because of the color of their skin, I wanted to stand with this man and this woman who provided for their son, and they’re being criminalized for it.
‘The arrogance and audacity of this woman.’
Harrold added that had he not come down into the lobby with his son when he did, something ‘could have gone very wrong.’
Ponsetto’s claims that she was attacked by Keyon Sr are so far without evidence
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)
‘The idea of trauma goes above any charge that we may have…I bring my son places where he shouldn’t have to deal with injustices and shouldn’t have to be profiled,’ he said.
An emotional Rodriguez also spoke during the rally, taking her opportunity to let it be known she is unhappy with the way the hotel handled the situation, and also called on ‘SoHo Karen’ to be charged with assault.
‘All that we are asking is for the police to do the right thing, for the DA to do the right thing, to charge this woman with assault of a minor,’ she said.
‘To the hotel, which I’m equally angry at, you are trained to use those tools. I called the hotel right after it happened, and I gave them a chance to make it right, and they didn’t.
‘You know when they made it right? When my tribe, my community spoke up.
‘It breaks my heart that this is happening to our son. This incident could have been avoided in so many ways,’ she said.
Crump, meanwhile, called the incident an example of ‘racial injustice’ – an all-too common narrative that ‘needs to change’.
‘Can you imagine what the narrative would have been if Keyon Harrold had not videoed the incident on his cellphone?’ Crump asked the crowd.
Keyon Harrold Sr. then played a trumpet rendition of ‘America the Beautiful’ and ‘We Shall Overcome,’ drawing applause and a few tears, according to ABC7.
At one point in the video Ponsetto is shown on the floor. It’s unclear where this has anything to do with her claims of assault
Kat Rodriguez, center, mother of Keyon Harrold Jr., speaks as attorney Ben Crump, right, Rev. Al Sharpton, left, and Keyon Harrold Sr. listen during a news conference on Wednesday
No decision has yet been made by either the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office or the NYPD as to whether the woman will be charged.
Keyon Sr first shared footage of the incident on Instagram, writing that he and his son had left their room to get breakfast when they came into contact with Ponsetto in the lobby.
He said she had been staying at the hotel but had checked out three days earlier.
It’s unclear what happened in the moments before he started filming, but in the video, Ponsetto can be heard screaming at Keyon Jr., telling him to show her his phone.
The minute-long video shows the woman and the hotel manager in the lobby with Harrold recording on his cell phone.
‘This is my phone,’ Harrold’s son, who is not seen in the footage, is heard telling Ponsetto and the manager.
‘You don’t have to explain nothing to her,’ Harrold tells his son.
Ponsetto then points to the phone and tells the manager that the case is the same one that she has.
‘That’s mine,’ she tells the manager. She then tells the manager: ‘Get it back.’
Harrold responds to Ponsetto, saying: ‘Are you kidding me? You feel like there’s only one iPhone made in the world?’
When Ponsetto asks Harrold to see the phone, he replies: ‘No, get a life.’
Harrold then tells the woman that she should use the Find My app, which helps locate missing Apple devices.
Ponsetto tells Harrold that the Find My app can only be accessed through the phone.
The video then shows the manager approach Harrold’s son asking him to see the phone.
‘No, you can’t,’ Harrold tells the manager.
‘I’m the manager of the hotel,’ the manager tells Harrold, who replies: ‘I don’t care!’
The incident happened in the lobby of the boutique Arlo Hotel last Saturday
Arlo Hotels apologized for the ‘recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel’ on Instagram saying: ‘No Arlo guest – or any person – should be subject to this kind of behavior. We want to apologize to Mr. Harrold and his son for this inexcusable experience, and have reached out to them directly to express our sincere regret and to offer help in dealing with the traumatic event’
During the exchange, Ponsetto continues to encourage the manager to retrieve what she believes is her iPhone.
Harrold tries to plead his case, saying it wasn’t plausible that his son would have someone else’s phone since he just got to the lobby from the elevator.
‘Didn’t you see me just come downstairs out of the f***ing elevator?’ Harrold tells the manager.
The manager protests, saying: ‘I’m trying to help.’
Harrold replies: ‘My son has nothing to do with her.’
Ponsetto once again repeats her demand to see the phone, saying: ‘No, he’s not leaving. Show me the proof.’
Harrold refuses and begins to walk away from the lobby toward what appear to be the elevators.
‘You better get on,’ Harrold tells Ponsetto.
Ponsetto, who appears to be highly distressed, walks toward Harrold and his son, saying: ‘No, I’m not letting him walk away with my phone.’
While the video is not clear, she appears to lunge toward Harrold and his son.
In the next frame, she is seen on the ground as the manager helps her back to her feet.
‘No, please get my phone back,’ Ponsetto begs the manager.
The video clip ends with Ponsetto once again approaching Harrold in an attempt to get the phone.
In one frame, she is seen on the ground as the manager helps her back to her feet
Keyon Harrold Sr. played the trumpet during the news conference, which was held as officials weigh charging Ponsetto
The trumpeter said he suffered slight injuries in the incident though his son was not harmed.
Keyon Jr. spoke alongside his father to ABC last Tuesday, telling the network he’s still ‘shell shocked’ over what happened.
‘I don’t know what would have happened if my dad wasn’t there. These past few days, still kind of shell-shocked, but I’m hanging in there.
‘For me I was confused because I had never seen that lady ever and I didn’t know what to do in the moment. That’s why I was happy to have my dad here to help me,’ he said.
Last week, Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, on Twitter called the incident ‘racism. Plain and simple.’
‘It would be horrific at any age, but it’s especially offensive that it happened to a child,’ he wrote.
‘To Keyon Harrold Jr. and his family: I am so sorry this happened to you.’
Amid the fallout, Arlo Hotels has also apologized for its role in the incident, saying its workers could have done better to ‘de-escalate the dispute.’
‘We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel,’ a company statement said.
‘In investigating the incident further, we’ve learned that the manager on duty promptly called the police regarding the woman’s conduct and that hotel security intervened to prevent further violence …. No Arlo guest – or any person – should be subject to this kind of behavior.’
Famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump is leading the charge of outrage against the woman’s actions, and also called out the hotel for ’empowering’ her accusations by asking Harrold’s son to prove his innocence.
‘As this year of racial awareness is drawing to a close, it’s deeply troubling that incidents like this one, in which a Black child is viewed as and treated like a criminal, continue to happen,’ Crump said in a statement.
‘We strongly urge Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. to bring assault and battery charges against this woman to send the message that hateful, racially motivated behavior is unacceptable,’ Crump added.
‘This is what it will take to drive change. We also call for a civil rights investigation into the Arlo Hotel for its implicit bias in its treatment of Keyon.’