NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In what sources are saying is an “unusual move” by the NYPD, detectives Wednesday are headed to California to interview a woman at the center of a false accusation that shocked the city.
She claimed an innocent teen had stolen her cell phone, leading to uproar.
Wednesday morning, the NYPD is making strides to advance the investigation that has sent shock waves across New York City.
Two officers are traveling to California in search of 22-year-old Miya Ponsetto, the woman who falsely accused a Black teen of stealing her cell phone in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in SoHo last month.
On Saturday, December 26, the woman in this video falsely accused an innocent 14-year-old teenager of stealing her cellphone. She then proceeded to physically attack him and fled the location before police officers arrived on scene. pic.twitter.com/qtZZWetBWH
— Chief Rodney Harrison (@NYPDDetectives) December 31, 2020
It led to a scuffle, and plenty of people still wondering why she acted this way.
“You can’t be grabbing things out of people’s hands. Because that’s assault,” one person said.
“If you have no evidence that you stole it, why would you say it is him,” Damien Torres said.
Sources say the NYPD does not have an arrest warrant, and are only going to question her.
Watch John Dias’ report —
Those CBS2’s John Dias spoke with staying at the Arlo Hotel say it’s the right thing to do to get to the bottom of this.
“The NYPD, I think, and this is just conjecture, want to dot every i, and cross every t to not be accused of not giving a pass to someone for this type of behavior,” one person said.
“They want to do better, and they’re trying, and good for the NYPD for being so proactive,” said hotel guest Aliou Traore.
While the incident is not being investigated as a bias crime, the mayor has said it’s racism.
“You got a teenager here who did nothing wrong, who was clearly profiled because he was young and male and Black. That is racism, pure and simple. That is unacceptable in this city in this country,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Many others agree.
“Because of what’s happening, I would think she would accuse him because of skin color,” Traore said.
Ponsetto’s attorney says her actions were anxiety-induced, not racially charged. She was visiting her father and felt anxious when she realized she lost her phone and couldn’t navigate the city.
“She just wants the family to know that she didn’t notice, care or concern herself with the race, creed, nationality or religion of the other party. She thought that was her phone, and she thought someone else had it,” the attorney told CBS2.
Police have no authority to extradite her back to New York without first charging her with a crime, which could range from assault to attempted robbery.
Sources say Ponsetto could eventually work out a voluntary surrender with her attorney.
The teen involved, Keyon Harrold, Jr., and his father, a Grammy award-winning musician, spoke about the incident at a rally last week.
“It was so crazy to me. I thought it was a joke at first. That’s why I took out my cell phone, because I couldn’t believe this is happening,” Keyon Harrold said.
The last time Ponsetto publicly spoke out to media about this was last week, when she disputed the account of what happened and claimed she was assaulted during the incident.
CBS2 has reached out to attorneys on both sides for a comment. We’ll let you know when we hear back.
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