Three women are facing assault and harassment charges after attacking an Asian restaurant hostess.
What happened: The incident, which was captured on video, stemmed from a dispute over proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirements at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant on the Upper West Side, reported ABC7.
- The three women involved had reportedly entered the establishment as part of a group earlier after they showed their vaccination documents.
- Three men in their party arrived later but were denied entry after failing to show vaccination proof to the unnamed 24-year-old hostess.
- According to Carmine’s owner Jeffrey Bank, the video they released showed the women chasing after the hostess after she told them, “Enjoy your meal.”
- The victim, who had only been working for three weeks, noted in her complaint that the women surrounded her and started grabbing at her clothes, arms and hair before hitting her “with an open hand on the shoulder, neck and face.”
- The hostess claimed one defendant grabbed and pulled at the necklace she was wearing, “causing a laceration on her neck.”
- She also suffered substantial pain from her injuries that included bruises, scratches and a concussion.
- The attackers — later identified as Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49, of Houston; Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44 of Humble; and her niece Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21, also of Humble — were each charged with two counts of third-degree assault, attempted assault and harassment. They are scheduled to return to court on Nov. 18.
The charges: The women defended their actions by claiming the hostess made derogatory comments — including the N-word — and also accused them of presenting fake vaccine cards, NextShark previously reported.
- The claims resulted in the gathering of around 30 to 40 protesters outside the restaurant days later for a Black Lives Matter rally.
- In a statement released through the victim’s lawyer, Aaron Mysliwiec, she noted that the “law requires us to check whether people are vaccinated,” and she only did her job to “protect [her] co-workers and the other customers from the possibility of getting the COVID virus.”
- She also denied the women’s accusation that she used a racial slur as she said she has “the utmost respect for all BIPOC” being a Korean immigrant.
- “I would never call anyone a racial slur. People lying about that is even worse than being physically assaulted,” she said.
- Bank also released an updated statement denying his employee made racial slurs: “Three women brutally attacked our hosts without provocation, got arrested and charged for their misconduct, and then, over the last several days, had their lawyer falsely and grossly misrepresent their acts of wanton violence in a cynical attempt to try to excuse the inexcusable.”