Family of Keyon Harrold Jr. sue “SoHo Karen” Miya Ponsetto

Suit alleges that Ponsetto racially profiled their son when falsely accusing him of theft.


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Woman assaults Black teen
Miya Ponsetto confronts Keyon Harrold Jr. last December in Soho's Arlo Hotel

For a few days over the holidays, she was arguably the most hated woman in America.

Now, Miya Ponsetto – a.k.a “SoHo Karen” – is back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The woman who falsely accused a black teen of stealing her phone is the target of a new lawsuit being brought by the boy’s family.

In a now infamous video, the woman who was later identified as Ponsetto was seen charging around the lobby of the SoHo’s posh Arlo Hotel demanding that 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. show her his phone.  

She was later charged with attempted robbery, grand larceny, acting in a manner injurious to a child and two counts of attempted assault over the Dec. 26 incident.

Now, in addition to those criminal charges, she is facing a civil suit from the teen’s family. The Harrolds say what happened to their son was blatant racial profiling, according to a report by CBS.  

They are alleging assault/battery, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress and other loss on behalf of their son, whom they say was emotionally scarred by the incident and incurred medical expenses.

The family is also suing the Arlo Hotel where the unseemly episode took place. The Harrolds’ suit claims that the establishment failed to provide a safe environment for guests and that the poor quality staff there did a poor job in de-escalating when Ponsetto went after their son.

The family are being represented by, among other attorneys, the renowned civil rights lawyer Ben Crump.

“This is racial profiling 1-0-1 America,” Crump said, according to CBS.

“They violated the human rights law of New York City,” another attorney Paul Napoli added.

“This is a test — New York, will you back this law up?” the boy’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, told the outlet. The teen’s father is renowned jazz musician Keyon Harrold.

In January, when “SoHo Karen” fever was at its height, the pale-looking Ponsetto argued in a prime time interview with veteran CBS anchor Gayle King that she could not be racist because she has Puerto Rican heritage and is therefore a “woman of color.”

According to the 2015 Race and Hispanic Origin estimate published by the US Census Bureau, 2,495,997 Puerto Ricans identified as “White Alone.” That equates to approximately 78% of the island’s total population.

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