Family of Black teen falsely accused of cell phone theft at NYC hotel sues for racial profiling

The family of a Black teenager who was falsely accused of stealing a woman’s cellphone in a New York City hotel last December filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that the woman and the hotel engaged in racial profiling.

The family alleges in the lawsuit filed in state court in Manhattan that Keyon Harrold Jr. was “violently accosted” by Miya Ponsetto on Dec. 26 in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel and that hotel manager Chad Nathan helped her and demanded that the teenager turn over his phone for inspection.

Paul D’Emilia, an attorney for Ponsetto, said in an email that Ponsetto is at home in California and has not been informed of any lawsuit.

A video of Ponsetto’s confrontation with the then-14-year-old was recorded and posted online by his father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold. The video shows an agitated woman demanding the teenager’s phone and accusing him of stealing it.

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