Following last week’s attack against a hostess at Carmine’s between 90th and 91st Streets on Broadway, three Black women from Texas were arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief.
Headlines initially indicated that the altercation began when the hostess requested vaccination proof from the women. (New York City requires all restaurant patrons to provide proof of having received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine). It was later reported that all three women were vaccinated, but two of the men who later joined their party were not. Those who showed proof of vaccination were escorted inside. Lawyers for both the restaurant and the women confirmed this part of the story with the NY Times.
A lawyer for one of the women – Justin Moore (representing Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin) – also told the Times that the 24-year-old hostess hurled a racial slur at the women at some point during their interaction. Moore also told the publication that the hostess assaulted them and that it was “mutual combat.”
This claim led to a protest held by Black Lives Matter of Greater NY outside of Carmine’s on Monday at 5pm.
During the protest, members and supporters of BLM chanted “Cancel Carmine’s” and called for the restaurant to release its own security footage. Jeffrey Bank, Carmine’s owner, has now released it.
Restaurant security footage shows the hostess walking past the three guests and through the front door. The position of the camera makes it difficult (if not impossible) to tell if the hostess said anything at this point. But as she’s opening the door, one of the women reacts and begins to follow her outside (while it appears that the other two in her party attempt to restrain her).
As the hostess walks outside, the women follow, at which point video shows one of them initiating a physical assault against the hostess. The video appears to refute Moore’s claim that the hostess carried out an assault against the three women.
During the protest, co-founder of BLM Greater New York Hawk Newsome also objected to the requirement of COVID-19 vaccine passports, claiming that they disproportionately impact Black people.
Carmine’s owner Jeffrey Bank made the following 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. 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.”
Here’s the security footage from Carmine’s [via NY1]: start at about 1:20