Three Texas women who were cited in a vaccination altercation at a New York restaurant last week allege racial slurs were used against them ahead of the fight, their lawyers said Monday.
The ugly confrontation at Carmine’s Italian restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side took place Thursday night and involved at least one hostess and customers Kaeita Rankin, 44, her niece Tyonnie Rankin, 21, and her friend Sally Lewis, 49, officials said.
It was widely reported that the meeting was triggered by questions about women being required to show proof of vaccination, which is required to dine in New York City restaurants.
But the three women showed proof of vaccination and were seated before trouble started, lawyers for the defendants and a spokesperson for the restaurant agreed.
The conflict arose when they were joined a little later by three men.
A spokesperson for Carmine said the three men had not provided any proof of vaccination. Lawyers for the women said all three had vaccination cards, but two did not have ID and should also be allowed in.
The six people were about to leave Carmine’s before the manager stepped in and allowed them to dine, said Dallas attorney Justin Moore, who represents Kaeita Rankin, and New York criminal defense attorney Javier. Solano, who represents the three women.
The confrontation happened as the party returned to Carmine’s home, the women’s lawyers said.
“This hostess was showing hostile aggression towards the three women, separate from this vaccine story that has been made public,” Moore told NBC News on Monday.
“Racial abuse was repeatedly uttered by the hostess and one of the women claims the hostess called her a monkey.”
A spokesperson for the restaurant disputed that the three men were allowed to enter, without all the necessary identification and vaccinations.
The rep also insisted that there had been no racial slurs from any of the three hosts working that night – a black woman, an Asian American woman and a Latina.
“Three party guests who had presented proof of vaccination and were welcomed into the restaurant without a problem then launched a brutal and entirely unprovoked attack on our hosts, one of whom continues to suffer from a concussion,” according to a statement from the restaurant.
“None of the attackers gave a reason for their attack. None of the hosts – who are all people of color – uttered racist slurs.”
The three women have been issued a third-degree assault court appearance ticket and face a judge in New York next month.
Their defense attorney hopes the case will be closed before then.
“I don’t expect anything to result from this,” Solano said. “I really hope that a cool head prevails, that the district attorney’s office has the opportunity to investigate this case before (the next court date) and dismisses the case.”