UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan — The owner of Carmine’s released new security camera video late Monday from the restaurant that shows the moments leading up to an altercation between tourists and a hostess that’s been making headlines since last week.
The release of the footage comes after attorneys for the three women facing charges told the New York Times that the hostess suggested their vaccination cards were fake, spoke condescendingly to the group, who are all Black, and used a racial slur.
“In the full footage that was made available to the New York Times, a journalist depicts a Carmine’s hostess harassing and taunting [the women] — which witnesses have detailed as being racially motivated,” attorney Justin Moore said in a statement. “Carmine’s has failed to release this footage and continues their trend of sweeping their employee’s racist and egregious behavior under the rug.”
Both Carmine’s attorney and owner Jeffrey Bank deny the claims, and hoped the new video gave more insight into what led to the incident.
According to Bank, the footage shows the restaurant staff welcome the women, who were ultimately part of a larger party of nine people, and later welcome another three people from that party.
The five women and one man showed their proof of vaccination and were seated as they arrived, the owner said.
According to the owner, three men who showed up later to join the group did not have vaccination proof and were told by hosts that they could not join the party inside, due to New York City’s new indoor vaccination mandate for many restaurants and businesses.
The full security video shows the women who had already been seated come back outside to speak with several hosts multiple times after the men were denied entry.
The video released does not have audio, so it is not clear what may have been said by either the guests or restaurant staff throughout the situation.
Carmine’s owner alleged that the women tried to argue with the staff and convince them to let the men join them inside.
At one point in the footage, the 24-year-old hostess who was later assaulted, can be seen saying something to the group, clapping her hands as she speaks. Another employee appears to pull her back and pat her shoulder, as if to calm her down.
More words seem to be exchanged between the group and the host, who is Asian American, before the other employee again grabs the host by the arm and pulls her inside the establishment.
According to the restaurant owner, later on, as the six guests were again walking back inside the restaurant, they passed that host as she was heading back out to the host station on the street.
It is not known if anything was said between the women and the employee at this time, however, footage shows at least three of the customers turn right around and rush back outside.
Almost immediately, it appears one of the women gets in the host’s face and appears to lunge at the employee, which sparked the altercation at the center of the story.
The owner claimed the attack was “entirely unprovoked,” despite what the women’s lawyer has said.
According to police, the attack left the hostess bruised and scratched. Her necklace was also ripped off.
Police charged 49-year-old Sally Lewis, 44-year-old Kaeita Rankin and 21-year-old Tyonnie Rankin with misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief. They were were all given desk appearance tickets and told to return on Oct. 5.
In his statement Monday, he said the new video “makes clear Carmine’s staff acted appropriately and professionally.”
The restaurant owner also said he planned to hire private security to protect his workers.
“When my employees mess up, I hold us accountable. But when my employees are attacked, I will defend them to the limit,” Bank said.
PIX11’s Lauren Cook and The Associated Press contributed to this report.