New claims in NYC restaurant brawl over vaccine proof

Posted at 5:27 PM, Sep 19, 2021

NEW YORK (AP) -- New details have emerged about a brawl outside a popular New York City restaurant between several out-of-town visitors and an employee over the restaurant's requirement that the guests show proof of vaccination.

Attorneys for Carmine's and for three women from Texas who are facing charges in connection with the melee last Thursday told the New York Times that the women had provided documentation of COVID-19 vaccinations but that the altercation escalated after two men who joined the party didn't have proof.

The restaurant hostess, who is White, seen being attacked in a video shot by an onlooker suggested the vaccination cards were fake, spoke condescendingly to the group, who are Black, and used a racial slur, an attorney for the women told the Times.

The dispute was "mutual combat," Justin Moore said.

Carolyn Richmond, an attorney representing Carmine's, denied the claim, writing in an email to The Times that "nothing about this incident suggests race was an issue."

Surveillance footage reviewed by The Times showed the three women being ushered inside the restaurant after showing documentation outside. It showed three men showing up several minutes later but only one showing a vaccination card. The fight broke out shortly after.

According to police, the three women punched the hostess repeatedly and broke her necklace, leaving the 24-year-old bruised and scratched. She was taken to a hospital and later released.

The women face charges of misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief and are scheduled to appear in court Oct. 5.

New York City's rule requiring proof of vaccination for indoor restaurant dining, gyms and entertainment venues has been in effect since Aug. 17 but only began being enforced in the past week.

A Black Lives Matter activist told The Times a demonstration was planned outside the restaurant on Monday to protest the treatment of Black patrons.