A lawyer for three Texas women arrested after a brawl outside a popular New York City restaurant over requiring guests to show proof of vaccination introduced a new factor in the case: race.
In a video shot by a spectator last Thursday and widely shared on social media, a restaurant hostess, who is white, is seen assaulted.
Lawyers for Carmine’s restaurant and the women from Texas, who are black, told the New York Times the women had provided documents about Covid-19 vaccinations, but the altercation escalated after two men who had joined the party did not.
A women’s attorney told The Times the hostess suggested the vaccination cards were fake, spoke condescendingly and used a racial slur.
The dispute was a “mutual fight,” said Justin Moore.
Carolyn Richmond, an attorney representing Carmine’s, denied the request, telling The Times that “nothing in this incident suggests race was an issue.”
Nonetheless, a Black Lives Matter activist told The Times that a demonstration was planned outside the restaurant on Monday to protest the treatment of black customers.
Surveillance footage examined by The Times showed the three women being ushered into the restaurant after showing documents outside.
It also showed three men showing up a few minutes later, but only one showing a vaccination card. The fight broke out soon after.
Police said the three women repeatedly punched the hostess and broke her necklace, leaving the 24-year-old bruised and scratched. She was taken to the hospital.
The women face assault and criminal mischief charges and are due in court on October 5.
New York City’s rule requiring proof of vaccination for indoor restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues has been in effect since August 17, but only began to apply within the last week.