3 people charged with assaulting Carmine hostess at New York restaurant claim racial discrimination, protest planned

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) – A protest took place outside Carmine’s Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side on Monday evening amid allegations by three women accused of assaulting a hostess over proof of vaccination that they were the subject of racial profiling.

Video of the incident on cellphone shows the chaos outside the restaurant, and screams can be heard as the women scuffle and other members of the group and staff jump to drag them.

The three women, Dr Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, her niece Tyonnie Keyshay Rankin and her assistant Sally Rechelle Lewis, all from the Houston area, are asking for their charges to be dropped and the hostess to be fired.

However, a new surveillance video posted by the restaurant owner on Monday evening offers a clearer picture of who may have actually started the fight.

The footage shows the women walking behind the hostess and surrounding her before starting the fight.

Carmine owner Jeffrey Bank released an updated statement in response to accusations that one of his employees made racist slurs that prompted the women to fight.

“Three women brutally attacked our hosts without provocation, were arrested and charged for their misconduct, and then, over the past few days, their lawyer has grossly and falsely distorted their acts of wanton violence in a cynical attempt to try to excuse the inexcusable, “he said.” My team members are working too hard to serve our guests, working too hard to comply with New York‘s vaccination requirements, and still suffering too much from the attack for me to allow these false statements to hold. “

Women’s lawyer Justin Moore said he provided documents on COVID vaccinations, but the altercation escalated after two men who joined the party lacked identification to match their vaccination cards.

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“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly prohibits restaurants from denying service to citizens on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin,” Moore said. “For a restaurant to arbitrarily decide whether a person’s identity card is real or not and use it as a proxy for their violent racism has no place in our society. And then, arresting these women after having being attacked adds even more insult to injury My firm seeks to help these women navigate such a hurtful and embarrassing incident. ”

Moore said the group were ready to eat elsewhere, but another employee told them to come back, which the hostess didn’t like.

Moore said the hostess suggested the vaccination cards were fake, spoke condescendingly to the group and used a racial slur before pouncing on the women.

He said that one of the women in the group took the hostess’ actions as attempted assault and pushed her, and they said the hostess then pushed back.

They also claim that the hostess was injured while being restrained by other staff.

“Reports, fueled by a false narrative published by Carmine’s, erroneously suggest that Dr Rankin, his niece and Ms Lewis attempted to violate the vaccination identification policy which was implemented in New York City by force.” Moore said. “This could not be further from the truth. These three women each had proof of vaccination which was arbitrarily and unwarrantedly questioned by Carmine’s. Witnesses said the hostess refused to serve these women and is became hostile to them The injuries she suffered were caused by being physically restrained by other Carmine’s staff after being called out on racial discrimination grounds, which she took offense to. Sadly, but not that uncommon, these black women have been arrested and humiliated for discrimination by someone who is not black. “

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Carmine issued the following statement denying the charges:

Last week’s violence against our staff had nothing to do with race, despite false claims to the contrary by a Texas defense attorney. Three of our hosts who are Black, Latin American and Asian women respectively did their best to host a big party while also enforcing New York City vaccination requirements for indoor dining. We require each guest to present proof of vaccination to eat inside. Unfortunately, some male members of the group were unable to provide proof of vaccination and therefore were unable to enter the restaurant. 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.

None of the attackers gave a reason for their attack. None of the hosts – who are all people of color – uttered racist slurs. None of the attackers mentioned anything about race to our managers, staff, or the police who arrested them, and the Texas defense attorney’s bogus claim is a deeply cynical ploy. to try to excuse gratuitous violence.

We focus on the safety of our employees as they continue to enforce New York’s vaccination mandates, and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated. We are also very grateful for all the support from our community and the City, which has been incredibly touching to our staff.

The women were ticketed to appear on charges of assault and disorderly conduct.

“Assaulting a restaurant worker for doing his job is heinous and should be punished,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. “We call on the city and state of New York to immediately increase penalties for assaults on restaurant workers in New York, in conjunction with the enforcement of COVID-19 protocols. “

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