By Carol Tannenhauser
Security camera footage provided by Carmine’s restaurant (Broadway and 91st Street), the site of a brawl Thursday night involving a hostess, a group of tourists, and proof of vaccination, has revealed a different scenario than was originally reported by police and the press, according to The New York Times.
It was originally reported by multiple news outlets, including WSR, based on an NYPD report, that a hostess at Carmine’s was attacked by three female tourists from Texas, because she asked to see their vaccination cards, denying them entry into the popular Italian eatery. On Sunday, however, The Times reported, “Security camera footage reviewed by The New York Times shows three women, who were with several other people, being ushered into the restaurant after showing documentation near the entrance. Several minutes later, three men arrive to join the group, but only one of the three shows a vaccination card, lawyers for both sides said. A short time later, after the three women, who are Black, have joined the men outside, the fight breaks out.”
The Rag reached out to lawyers from both sides, but has not yet heard back. In an interview with the Times, Justin A. Moore, “a lawyer who represents one of the women, Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, said that the hostess used a racial slur and spoke condescendingly to the patrons, suggesting that their vaccination cards were fake. He also said the Texas women claim that the hostess assaulted them.”
Carolyn Richmond, a lawyer representing Carmine’s, denied those allegations in an email to The Times. “Nothing about this incident suggests race was an issue,” she wrote. “The pandemic has added a key responsibility to the host position — insuring the safety and health of all employees and guests by checking for proof of vaccination in compliance with New York City law. The idea that anyone would become violent as an employee performs this necessary function is anathema to New York, the hospitality industry and New Yorkers in general,” she added. “As all of the women showed proof of vaccination they were all permitted to enter and were in fact seated inside.”
In addition to Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44, her daughter, Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21, and another woman, Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49, were arrested and charged with one count each of misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief. They were issued Desk Appearance Tickets (DATs), and told to return to court on October 5.