In the days following the constant media attention surrounding Miya Ponsetto‘s whereabouts and the fact that she is still walking around as a free woman, the parents of Keyon Harrold Jr., the 14-year-old Black teen she attacked, are speaking out.
Jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold and his partner, educator Kat Rodriguez, are taking a stand against Ponsetto’s futile efforts to avoid accountability in the disturbing Dec. 26 attack that took place in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in New York City.
Ponsetto was caught on tape tackling and assaulting the Harrolds after she falsely accused the young man of stealing her phone, an item that was later returned by the driver of an Uber in which she was a passeger. Recently, Ponsetto’s lawyer told the New York Post that she wanted to publicly apologize to the teen, an effort that Harrold and Rodriguez frown upon.
“This is not about an apology from someone who until a few days ago was claiming she did nothing wrong, and in fact alleged Keyon Harrold Sr. had assaulted her,” their statement begins. “Someone who targeted a 14-year-old Black child because of the color of his skin. What it is about is significant, societal change. It’s about a system that condones and emboldens racial profiling and considers Black people guilty until proven innocent. A system that exists and thrives because of institutions like the Arlo Hotel who enables the disturbing behavior of people like Miya Ponsetto, and instead of stopping the racist attack on our son, threw gasoline on the fire.”
Ponsetto claims the incident was not racially motivated and was offset by her anxiety and anger issues. The 22-year-old California native is under investigation and was visited by members of the NYPD who flew to the Golden State to question her after she was spotted at a McDonalds in the city of Piru.
But Harrold and Rodriguez say they are not focused on giving Ponsetto more of a platform but want to focus on making sure their son is safe and healthy.
“Miya will be dealt with by law enforcement, and hopefully be charged with the assault of our child. We are not interested in what she has to say, in her feigning remorse, and we certainly will not provide her a public platform and audience to do as much,” the statement continues.
The teen has undoubtedly struggled since the event and is seeking therapy through a counselor. In the end, they hope the NYPD will follow through with charging Ponsetto for the attack as the Manhattan District Attorney investigates. The family has launched a petition in support of assault charges, which has reached over 100,000 signatures and counting.
“This never should have happened. But the fact of the matter is, it did. We pray it is not in vain and brings us one step closer to living in a world where a 14-year-old Black child can enjoy brunch with his father without the threat of being profiled, targeted, falsely accused, and physically attacked.”