Hate Crime Against Teen Could’ve Been Worse…A Lot Worse

What was supposed to be a nice brunch between a father and his son the day after Christmas in New York City turned into a nightmare for Keyon Harrold, a famous jazz trumpeter and his then 14-year-old son.

On Dec. 26, 2020, Harrold and his son, Keyon Harrold Jr., were staying at the Arlo SoHo when they were just casually walking through the lobby on their way to a very uneventful brunch. Then, Miya Ponsetto, saw the young teenager with a phone similar to hers, which she was claiming was lost at the hotel. She was also saying that the young 14-year-old had stole it.

Thankfully, there was a lot of video of this interaction that made the young man completely innocent. But it could’ve been worse and I mean a lot worse.

Believe it or not, this type of false accusations is very common in big cities. I know, personally, because it happened to my grandson when he was visiting Chicago with a school group in 2011. Some older white man had accused him, only 17 at the time, of causing damage to some luggage or something, even though neither he nor the group were anywhere near this belligerent man. People go looking for money or want to get a POC in trouble. My grandson is part black, part white and part Indeginous Native American.

Ponsetto saw the young teen as a theif. And despite she had no evidence that he had taken the phone, she became hostile. Video even shows that the hotel staff are not taking care of Harrold and his son the way they should. Ponsetto should’ve been immediately asked to leave the hotel as she wasn’t a guest. But video seems to show the staff to somewhat side with Ponsetto. Some reports indicate Ponsetto had stayed at the hotel but I havent been able to find anything that says she was.

The phone was later found in an Uber. Anyone who’s ever lost anything, usually goes back to the last place they were at. So, why did Ponsetto checked the Uber she was in? Does she think that only one type of Apple iPhone would be used by someone in NYC during Christmas week? It’s obvious Ponsetto say a black teenager with a phone similar to hers and immediately thought he was a thief.

The good news is Harrold and his son did the right thing by going back to their room after the staff didn’t immediately tell Ponsetto to leave. But it could’ve been worse. Thankfully, Ponsetto ran after the teenage boy and attacked him. Why do I say that? Because, at this point, everything is on her and the hotel for not protecting their guests better.

If Ponsetto hadn’t turned violent, it’s very likely the NYPD would’ve been called. And then, it could’ve gotten ugly. The police would’ve demanded that either Harrold and his son come to the lobby or they would’ve gone to their room. They would’ve also demanded the young man turn over his phone, which Harrold would’ve rightfully protested. At which point, the NYPD would’ve detained both of them, confiscated both of their electronic devices and searched the room all under the umbrella of probably cause.

Don’t think it would’ve gone down that way? Then, you probably haven’t been keeping up on current events here lately. George Floyd was killed for possessing a suspected counterfeit $10 bill. This is the world we still live in. And the NYPD would’ve been justified in what they did. They would’ve argued they were investigating a possible theft.

But now, Ponsetto is the bad person and there’s no way to spin it. She assaulted a young man, a child. I’ve not been using the young man’s name because he is still a juvenile and deserves some anonymity. He also did nothing wrong. And anyone saying that Harrold and his son should’ve just complied are full of shit and wouldn’t have done the same if placed in the same position.

And Ponsetto didn’t do much in the weeks following the incident to make her look like just another scared racist white woman. She immediately fled the Arlo after attacking the teen, which is never a good sign. Even though she claims to have Italian, Puerto Rican, Vietnamese and Greek ancestry, she identifies as a Caucasian. During an interview with CBS’ Gayle King, who is black, she more or less told her to be quiet, and then tried to play herself up as the victim herself.

Earlier this week, she pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a hate crime and is on probation in connection with a DUI case in California. After two years if she follows the guidlelines of her probation, she can enter a plea of aggravated harassment in the second degree, a misdemeanor. However, it doesn’t matter. The damage has already been done. Harrold and his family got to live with this for the rest of their lives. It’s becoming too common with many POC but I know they’re fed up with it.

As for the Arlo, this is going to hurt their business because it brings up past incidents. Despite what you see in movies and TV, hotels have to do more to protect their guests. Someone walking into a hotel lobby and falsely accusing guests should’ve been handled more swiftly. I hate to say this but imagine if it had been a black woman falsely accusing a white man and his teenage son of theft. Sadly, we still see a big difference between a white 14-year-old and a black 14-year-old.

I don’t blame Harrold for being a little upset that Ponsetto gets a slap on the wrist. She should be serving prison time. I think she took the plea to avoid it. But something tells me, we haven’t heard the last of her. I hope she doesn’t end up on The Masked Singer or Dancing With the Stars or worse, a correspondent on Fox News or OAN. Like George Zimmerman, she’s no angel. She’s a criminal.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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