"I apologize. Can we move on?" Those were the exact words that she used with you," the teen's mother told Gayle King

By Harriet Sokmensuer
January 11, 2021 06:56 PM
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Credit: cbs

The parents of 14-year-old Keyon Harrold, Jr., the Black teenager attacked by a California woman who accused him of stealing her phone, say they don't believe her apology.

"Listen, I feel like her apology was, you know, as genuine as when she shushed you. It said a lot. I have an issue with the idea of entitlement versus character," Keyon Harrold, Sr., said of 22-year-old Miya Ponsetto, in an interview with CBS This Morning host Gayle King.

"'I apologize. Can we move on?' Those were the exact words that she used with you," Keyon's mother, Kat Rodriguez, said of Ponsetto's apology to King in an earlier interview. "Does that sound like an apology? She knew she assaulted a 14-year-old boy. Not a guy, not a man."

Ponsetto is facing criminal charges in New York City for accusing Keyon of stealing her phone, ultimately tackling him in an attempt to get the phone from him at a hotel in New York City on Dec. 26, 2020. (Her missing phone was later found at the hotel.)

Detectives from the NYPD flew west and worked in concert with deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office to execute the fugitive warrant for Ponsetto's arrest Thursday, a police source tells PEOPLE.

She is charged with two counts of attempted assault, attempted robbery, grand larceny, and endangering the welfare of a child.

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Credit: CBS This Morning

The incident was captured in a now-viral video shot by Harrold that appears to show Ponsetto confronting the musician and his son in the hotel's lobby, and falsely accusing the teen of stealing her phone.

While Ponsetto apologized for her actions during an interview with King, she denied any racial profiling in her actions because she is Puerto Rican, and therefore incapable of racism.

"I wasn't racial profiling whatsoever," Ponsetto told King. "I am Puerto Rican. I'm like, a woman of color. I'm Italian, Greek, Puerto Rican..."

Now, as Ponsetto is on supervised release and due back in court March 29, Keyon's parents say they have to help their son come to terms with what happened.

"This young lady blindsided him in the hotel," Rodriguez told King. "He keeps on asking the question, 'Why? Why me, Mom? You know I wouldn't steal anything. I didn't know her. Why?' As a mother, to have to answer that question."

On Thursday, Ponsetto's attorney, Sharon Ghatan, insisted that the incident had nothing to do with race, telling NBC News that Ponsetto "suffers from a lot of anxiety attacks."

Ghatan said her client had not been staying at the hotel, and instead left her personal effects unattended in the lobby as she was retrieving something from a nearby Starbucks' bathroom.

When she returned, Ponsetto realized her phone was missing and asked several people in the lobby, including an "Asian gentleman," if they'd taken her phone, Ghatan said in the NBC News interview. The next people she asked were the Harrolds.