Released video footage reveals more details about an altercation between three women from Texas and a hostess at the restaurant Carmine’s on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, reports the New York Times.
Security cameras show Kaeita Rankin, her niece Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, both of Humble, Texas, and Sally Rechelle Lewis of Houston as they showed their vaccination cards and were seated in the restaurant. Two other men in their group said they left their cards at their hotel. When they arrived back at the restaurant, only one of the men possessed a vaccination card. Shortly thereafter, the women joined the men outside and a fight broke out.
The tourists from Texas claim that they were racially profiled over vaccinations cards.
Justin Moore, the lawyer representing one of the accused Texas women, said that the hostess of the restaurant used the N-word during the fight and that she had a “very aggressive” towards the tourists
“The hostess begins spouting out derogatory comments, and speaking with two of the women; they claim that the N-word is being spewed out,” Moore said in an interview. “They also heard the hostess say, ‘Yeah, you guys can leave my restaurant,’ or something very aggressive like that. When Dr. Rankin hears that, she turns around and addresses the hostess. She tells her: ‘This isn’t your restaurant. You’re just a staff member here. Please address us with respect.’”
Carolyn Richmond, an attorney representing Carmine’s, denied that race was a contributing factor in the incident and all accusations levied at the establishment by the Texas women.
“Nothing about this incident suggests race was an issue,” Carolyn Richmond, a lawyer who represents the restaurant, wrote in an email. “The pandemic has added a key responsibility to the host position—insuring the safety and health of all employees and guests by checking for proof of vaccination in compliance with New York City law.”
“The idea that anyone would become violent as an employee performs this necessary function is anathema to New York, the hospitality industry and New Yorkers in general,” she continued. “As all of the women showed proof of vaccination, they were all permitted to enter and were in fact seated inside.”
Hawk Newsome, the co-founder and chairman of Black Lives Matter Greater New York, plans to protest outside of Camine’s for their treatment of Black people.
“Restaurants are using vaccine mandates to enforce their racist beliefs and excluding Black patrons,” Newsome said.
In a statement last Thursday, the police said the three women had struck the unidentified hostess, “multiple times with closed fists.” Also, they claimed the hostess sustained “bruises and scratches to her face, chest, and arm.”
The women from Texas were arrested, released, and scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 5.
According to city officials, the vaccine mandate was put in place to help keep New Yorkers safe and to ease anxiety around the pandemic, the New York Daily News reports.
Any business that breaks the ordinance will get a $1,000 fine for the first offense, $2,000 for a second violation and $5,000 per incident for further violations.