Carmine’s Italian Restaurant has released a new surveillance video showing the moments that led up to the assault of an Asian American hostess in its Upper West Side location last week.
Why it matters: The video adds to the evidence surrounding the now-viral incident in New York City, which triggered a Black Lives Matter protest outside the restaurant on Monday. Three Black American women — who were all tourists from Texas — are being charged for the attack.
- In their defense, Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44, Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21, and Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49, claimed that the hostess accused them of presenting fake COVID-19 vaccine cards. They also alleged that she made derogatory comments, including the N-word, The New York Times reported.
- In response, Carmine’s said it was complying with a city mandate that requires proof of vaccination for indoor dining. The restaurant said the three women were welcomed without issue, but that some of their male companions did not have vaccine cards to show.
What happened: The men’s alleged lack of vaccine proof reportedly led to a verbal dispute, which later led to the physical brawl. Carmine’s said the group tried to argue with staff and convince them to let the men join them inside, according to WWLP.
- In the video — which has no audio — released on Monday, the Asian American hostess is seen saying something to the customers, who are heading outside. Another employee is seen pulling her back inside the restaurant, presumably to calm her down.
- Moments later, the group — which included five women and one man at that point — returned inside the restaurant. After coming across the Asian American hostess, at least three of them turned around and followed her outside.
- The next scene was caught in the first viral video, which shows the group ultimately attacking the hostess. Other Carmine’s employees rushed to separate their coworker from her attackers.
The aftermath: The hostess, 24, reportedly suffered bruises and scratches from the incident. The three women accused of attacking her were charged with misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief.
- An unidentified coworker told the Daily Mail that the hostess has not returned to Carmine’s since the attack on Sept. 16. They also claimed that she was new, having worked for only a few days before the incident.
- Aside from alleging that she used the N-word, Justin Moore, a lawyer who represents Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, accused the hostess of having “anger management issues,” the New York Daily News reported. Moore also claimed that her injuries resulted from being restrained by her own coworkers.
- Carolyn Richmond, an attorney for the restaurant, rejected all of Moore’s allegations. In a statement, the restaurant maintained that none of its hosts used racial slurs, adding that the defendants themselves said nothing about race at the time of their arrest.
- “None of the hosts – all of whom are people of color – uttered a racial slur. None of the attackers mentioned anything about race to our managers, staff, or the police who arrested them, and the Texas criminal defense lawyer’s false assertion otherwise is a deeply cynical ploy to try to excuse wanton violence,” the restaurant said, as per Eyewitness News.
- The incident prompted a BLM march on the restaurant on Monday, with protesters chanting “Cancel Carmine’s!” “Last week, there was a racist hostess standing right here, y’all,” local leader Hawk Newsome said through a loudspeaker, according to the New York Post. “She was nasty to Black people…I charge Carmine’s with trying to cover up their employee’s actions by using the vaccination passport as an excuse.”
The suspects were reportedly given desk appearance tickets and ordered to appear in court on Oct. 5.