Kaeita Rankin, 44, Tyonnie Rankin, 21, and Sally Lewis, 49, were served with desk appearance tickets on charges of assault and disorderly conduct after they attacked the hostess at Carmine's over a dispute over the vaccination status of members of their party.
The three women provided proof they were vaccinated and were seated inside the restaurant, as were three men. The issue began when another group of three men showed up later to join the party but could not be seated over issues with their vaccine cards. The hostess went inside to let the group know about the problem.
All six members of the party came outside and began arguing with the hostess, which led to the physical confrontation that left the hostess hospitalized with a concussion.
Justin Moore, a Dallas-based lawyer representing Kaeita Rankin, accused the hostess of racism and claimed that she used racial slurs during the argument. He said that she accused the men of having fake vaccine cards.
"The Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly prohibits restaurants from refusing service to citizens based on race, color, religion, or national origin," Moore said. "For a restaurant to arbitrarily decide if a person's vaccination ID is real or not and use it as a proxy for their violent racism has no place in our society. And then, to arrest these women after they were being attacked further adds insult to injury. My firm seeks to help these women navigate such a hurtful and embarrassing incident."
Carmine's disputed those claims and said that nobody used racial slurs.
"Last week's violence against our staff had nothing to do with race, despite a Texas criminal defense lawyer's false assertions to the contrary. Three of our hosts who are respectively Black, Latinx, and Asian American women did their best to welcome a large party while enforcing New York's vaccination requirement for indoor dining," the restaurant said in a 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," the statement continued.
In response to Moore's claim, a group of Black Lives Matter protesters gathered outside of Carmine's.
"I charge Carmine's with trying to cover up their employee's actions by using the vaccination passport as an excuse," BLM New York leader Hawk Newsome said.