A 22-year-old woman caught on video falsely accusing the teenage son of a black jazz musician of taking her iPhone with her apologized and admitted in an interview that she could have handled the situation differently.
But Miya Ponsetto insisted in a CBS interview “This Morning,” taped before her arrest in California Thursday, that the race was not a factor in her attack on the teenager and that her actions were not criminal.
Ponsetto’s attorney Sharen Ghatan called her client “emotionally uncomfortable” on Friday and expressed concern about the woman’s unpredictable behavior.
“I’ve approached the people who are leaving the hotel,” Ponsetto said in a sometimes tense interview with CBS, “because in my eyes anyone who leaves the hotel could be the one trying to steal my phone.”
She added, “I admit, yes, I could have approached the situation differently or maybe I couldn’t have yelled at him like that and made him feel … like I was hurting his feelings. That is not my intention. I consider myself super cute. “
Ponsetto was arrested Thursday during a traffic obstruction that required her to be forcibly removed from her car in Piru, Ventura County, nearly 3,000 miles from the lobby of the Manhattan boutique hotel where the physical confrontation took place.
“She was on a path and that was it”
Trying to justify her actions in part of the interview aired on Friday, Ponsetto asked, “How would you feel if you were alone in New York knowing that you would be with your family on vacation and with you Lose the only thing stolen from you that has all access to the only way to get back home? “
Ghatan, who represents Ponsetto and her mother in an unrelated Los Angeles case, said the young woman showed up shortly before the CBS interview and disregarded her attorney’s advice to present herself.
“From what I saw in this interview, it is a psychological problem, not a racial problem,” the lawyer told CNN’s Brynn Gingras on Friday. “Race, skin color, creed and sex made no difference to them. She was on a path and that was it. There might even be a bigger problem, some mental health aspect, and I’m not sure if she knows what she’s doing or saying. “
Ghatan said she was not sure if she should continue to represent the woman.
The lawyer said the Ponsetto family had not given her a “formal diagnosis” for their daughter’s mental health.
“Miya is emotionally uncomfortable, mentally incapable and not stable enough to conduct these interviews,” said Ghatan of her client’s media appearances. “It was clear to me and everyone on set that this was the case. In addition, it is extremely difficult to have a client who cannot understand the circumstances and cannot hear legal counsel. “
“Can we continue?”
In the interview, Ponsetto wore a baseball cap with the word “Daddy” on it. On the day of the attack, she was intermittently defensive and disapproved of her actions.
Pressed on the video in which she appears to be attacking the teenager, Ponsetto said, “Yes, the footage shows me attacking his son. To attack him how? Shout at him yes. OK, I apologize, can we go on? “
Once she said, “I don’t think I’m like me. I don’t feel that this one mistake defines me, but I sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart … if I made the son feel like I was assaulting him or if I hurt his feelings or his father’s feelings. “
Ponsetto said she was “a 22-year-old girl,” which according to interviewer Gayle King, was old enough to know better. Ponsetto cut her abruptly with a gesture for King to stop talking.
Ponsetto said the hotel had her phone. Police said the phone was returned to her after the incident by the driver of a ride-sharing center she used at the hotel.
The NYPD would not confirm what charges Ponsetto might face. Police said they were facing possible charges of assault and / or grand theft and attempted robbery. The incident is not being investigated as a bias crime, police said.
Ghatan said the NYPD tried to contact her and her client while they were taping the CBS interview.
Ponsetto was arrested on “a cursory warrant in connection with a recent attack on a New York City hotel,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s office said in a press release. She was being held in the Ventura detention center without bail, the sheriff’s office said.
According to the sheriff’s office, NYPD detectives were present to coordinate the arrest.
Ponsetto was picked up on Thursday during a traffic obstruction near her home.
“She didn’t stop for MPs until she got to her home, and she refused to get out of the car. The MPs forcibly removed her from the vehicle and arrested her on the pending arrest warrant, ”the press release said.
According to the press release, Ponsetto will remain in custody until an extradition hearing.
Ghatan previously told the New York Times that her client is of Puerto Rican and Vietnamese descent and does not identify as white.
The NYPD had identified Ponsetto as white, but also said they were not investigating the incident as a case of racist bias.
What happened in New York City?
The alleged attack occurred last month at the Arlo SoHo boutique hotel, where Harrold and his son were staying.
Harrold posted a video recorded on his cell phone showing the woman making claims against his son.
In the video, when Harrold and his son are trying to leave, the woman comes up to them and says, “I won’t let him go away with my phone.” The video then shows her on the ground, but it’s unclear how she ended up there. She approaches them again and the teen’s father yells for her to take her hands off before the video goes out.
In his Instagram post, Harrold said the woman scratched him and grabbed his son. He told NBC that after the video was cut, the woman “grabbed my son, you know, tried to reach into his pockets, reach into my pockets.”
Harrold sustained minor injuries, but his son was not injured, New York Police Department said.