Tourists were captured on camera attacking a hostess at Carmine’s Italian restaurant in New York City after asking for proof of vaccination.
“Officers spoke to a 24-year-old female complainant who reported that she got into a dispute with three unknown females after she requested to see their Covid-19 vaccine card,” the NYPD told Fox News on Friday. “The individuals struck her multiple times with closed fists.”
The attack occurred Thursday afternoon just before 5 p.m. when three female tourists from Texas visited Carmine’s on the Upper West Side. The hostess’s necklace was also broken during the incident, according to the NYPD, and she was left with bruises and scratches to her face and arms.
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The owner of Carmine’s said the hostess is “safe” but “extremely shook up” following the attack and had only been working at the restaurant for a few weeks.
“This turned into a mess. And from there, it’s inexcusable, it’s ridiculous,” the owner, Jeff Banks, told CBS2, adding that “two other people had minor issues.”
The women, Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44, and Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21, both from Humble, along with Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49, of Houston, were subsequently arrested and charged with assault and criminal mischief. They were given desk appearance tickets and released.
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Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has since called for harsher penalties against the women, saying the attack was “completely unacceptable.”
“Do not assault restaurant workers who are doing their job to keep us safe … I can’t believe this happened here,” she said. “We have to increase the fines, if that’s what it takes.”
A spokesperson from Carmine’s Italian Restaurant added that: “It’s a shocking and tragic situation when one of our valued employees is assaulted for doing their job – as required by city policies – and trying to make a living. Our focus right now is caring for our employee and the rest of our restaurant family. We are a family-style restaurant, and this is the absolute last experience any of our employees should ever endure and any customers witness.”
The incident comes after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that people who want to dine indoors in the city’s restaurants will need to show proof of vaccination.
Banks said that Carmine’s had trained staff ahead of the vaccine passport requirement, but never expected such a situation to unfold and will now hire more security at the front door.
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“We ID for 21-year-olds all the time at the bar,” he said. “We’ve done training weeks before this talking about the enforcement.”