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Woman who falsely accused Black teen of phone theft returns to New York to face charges

Miya Ponsetto was arrested Thursday in California after video showed her attacking jazz musician Keyon Harrold's son when she could not find her phone.

The woman who was arrested after a video showed her attacking and falsely accusing a Black teenager of stealing her cell phone arrived in New York City overnight to face charges, a police spokesperson said Saturday.

Ventura County officers in California coordinated with the New York City Police Department to arrest the woman, Miya Ponsetto, on Thursday. She was taken into custody following a traffic stop near her home in Piru, about 40 miles from Los Angeles.

Deputies said Ponsetto failed to stop her car until she reached her home, and then refused to get out. She was forcibly removed and arrested on a fugitive warrant. The 22-year-old was held in Ventura County until she was extradited to New York.

An NYPD spokesperson said Saturday morning that Ponsetto is still being processed at the First Precinct in Manhattan and charges were not immediately available.

A video of the incident shows Ponsetto accosting jazz musician Keyon Harrold and his 14-year-old son in the lobby of the Arlo Soho hotel. In the video, which was initially shared by Harrold, Ponsetto yells, "Show me my phone!"

A man in the video who identified himself as the manager can also be heard asking to see the teen's phone. At one point, Ponsetto refuses to let Harrold and his son leave.

"No, he's not leaving. Show me the proof," she says.

As the father and son begin to walk away, Ponsetto runs after them and screams for someone to get her phone back. The video ends with Harrold shouting, "Get your hands off!"

Another video released by police showed Ponsetto rushing and tackling the teen.

Ponsetto's phone eventually turned up after she left it in an Uber.

During a CBS "This Morning" interview that aired on Friday, Ponsetto tried to explain her actions while admitting that she could have handled the situation differently.

"Maybe not yelled at him like that, and made him feel you know, some sort of, uh, inferior way, making him feel as if I was like, hurting his feelings — that's not my intention,” she said. “I consider myself to be super sweet.”

As King pressed Ponsetto further, saying the video showed her attacking a teenager who did not have her phone, Ponsetto got agitated. “Alright, Gayle, enough," she said, cutting the journalist off.

Attorney Sharon Ghatan, who was sitting beside Ponsetto during the virtual interview, whispered for her to stop.

Ghatan has previously said that the incident was not about race, saying her client "suffers from a lot of anxiety attacks."

"She was alone … 22 years old in a city she doesn’t know, absolutely nobody there and her phone had everything about it," she said.

Harrold's son said the altercation left him "shell-shocked."

"I would ask her why would she do something like this to a kid who has never met you at all, and I would just ask why," he said in an interview with ABC's “Good Morning America” on Dec. 29.