Charges dropped against customer in viral brawl at nail salon: Brooklyn DA

EAST FLATBUSH, Brooklyn — Charges have been dropped against a customer seen in now-viral video capturing a violent altercation with employees of a Brooklyn nail salon, the borough's district attorney said Wednesday.

Customer Christina Thomas was arrested and faced a third-degree assault charge in the Aug. 3 fight at the New Red Apple Nail at 1426 Nostrand Ave. The charge has since been dropped, the Brooklyn DA said.

"After reviewing all the evidence, interviewing more than a dozen witnesses and analyzing video footage, we dismissed the charges today against Ms. Thomas in the interest of justice," Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez said in a statement. "Our investigation, which started immediately after this serioys incident took place, is ongoing."

An employee at the nail salon, Huiyue Zheng, was arrested in the incident. She allegedly beat Thomas with a broom.

Video of the encounter shows a group of women in smocks surrounding a woman as a second woman whacks her with a broom. The woman being hit is beaten on the back as she walks out of the salon. That's when the video shows the women in smocks turn toward two black women huddled against a wall. The groups yell at each other, and one employee throws a liquid at the women.

Days after video of the fight went viral, dozens of protestors gathered outside the salon and demanded that the business be closed. Several people held signs that read, "Black $$$ matters."

An activist who protested claimed the liquid thrown was acetone, the primary ingredient in nail polish remover, and that the altercation began because a woman at the salon with her two grandchildren did not want to pay for a poorly done eyebrow treatment.

“So because she did not want to pay the $5 for her messed-up eyebrows, they attacked this grandmother and her two granddaughters with sticks, threw acetone on them and then called the police on them,” activist Jasmine Johnson alleged.

The woman who initially posted video of the incident also said a patron refused to pay the salon because she felt the employee did not do a good job, prompting the fight.