Three Texas women who were cited in a vaccination-related altercation at a New York City restaurant last week allege that racial slurs were used against them before the fight, their attorneys said Monday.
The ugly confrontation Thursday eveningat Carmine's Italian on the Upper West Side of Manhattan involved at least one hostess and customers Kaeita Rankin, 44, her niece Tyonnie Rankin, 21, and a friend, Sally Lewis, 49, officials said.
It was widely reported that the encounter was sparked by questions over the women's having to show proof of vaccination, which is required to dine inside New York City restaurants.
All three women showed proof of vaccination and had been seated before trouble began, attorneys for the defendants and a spokesman for the restaurant agreed.
The conflict happened when three men joined them a little later.
A Carmine's spokesman said all three men had failed to provide any proof of vaccination. Attorneys for the women said that all three had vaccination cards but that two didn't have identification also needed to be allowed inside.
All six people were about to leave before the manager intervened and allowed them all to dine, said Dallas-based lawyer Justin Moore, who represents Kaeita Rankin, and New York criminal defense lawyer Javier Solano, who represents all three women.
The confrontation happened as the party was re-entering Carmine's, the women's attorneys said.
"This hostess was exhibiting some hostile aggression toward the three women, separate from this vaccine narrative that's been put out to the public," Moore said Monday. "A racial slur was uttered numerous times by the hostess, and one of the women claims the hostess called her a monkey."
A restaurant spokeswoman disputed that the three men were being allowed to enter without all the necessary IDs and vaccination.
The representative also insisted that no racial slur was uttered by any of the three hosts working that night — a Black woman, an Asian American woman and a Latina.
"Three female guests in the party who had shown proof of vaccination and been welcomed into the restaurant without issue then launched an entirely unprovoked, brutal attack on our hosts, one of whom continues to suffer from a concussion," according to a restaurant statement. "None of the attackers offered any reason for their attack. None of the hosts — all of whom are people of color — uttered a racial slur. "
All three of the women were given desk appearance tickets alleging third-degree misdemeanor assault and must face a judge in New York City next month.
Their defense attorney hopes the case is dismissed before then.
"I don't expect anything to come of it, " Solano said. "I really do hope that cooler heads prevail, that the district attorney's office has an opportunity to investigate this case before [the next court date] and that they dismiss the case."