UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Three Texas women who were caught on video allegedly attacking the hostess at Carmine's over vaccination proof were released on their own recognizance Tuesday after a brief arraignment in Manhattan.
Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49, of Houston, Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44, and Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21, both of Humble, face charges of assault, attempted assault and harassment.
Authorities say the incident started after the hostess asked two men who came to the restaurant to meet the women for proof of vaccination.
The men were denied entry when they could not provide it.
The hostess told police the women then surrounded her, grabbed her clothes, arms and hair before striking her "with an open hand on the shoulder, neck and face," according to the criminal complaint. "She observed one defendant grab her about the necklace, which was around her neck, and pull on the necklace, causing it to break, and causing a laceration on her neck."
The hostess said she suffered redness, bruises, scratches, a concussion and substantial pain.
"(Expletive), oh my God, what the (expletive)" the hostess can be heard screaming.
She released a statement Tuesday through her attorney, Aaron Mysliwiec.
"On September 16th, I was working as a hostess at Carmine's," she said. "The law requires us to check whether people are vaccinated. I did my job in order to protect my co-workers and the other customers from the possibility of getting the COVID virus. The accusation stating that I said a racial slur is unbelievable. I am a Korean immigrant, I was born in Seoul, Korea. I have the utmost respect for all BIPOC. I would never call anyone a racial slur. People lying about that is even worse than being physically assaulted. I want to make sure that neither myself nor my fellow co-workers are attacked again for trying to protect ourselves and our customers from the COVID virus."
The tourists are due back in court November 18.
The women, however, claimed they were racially profiled, sparking protests outside the restaurant.
Carmine's owner Jeffrey Bank released an updated statement in response to the accusations that one of his employees made racial slurs that provoked the women to fight.
"Three women brutally attacked our hosts without provocation, got arrested and charged for their misconduct, and then, over the last several days, had their lawyer falsely and grossly misrepresent their acts of wanton violence in a cynical attempt to try to excuse the inexcusable," he said. "My team members work too hard to serve our guests, work too hard to comply with New York's vaccination requirements, and still suffer too much from the attack for me to allow these false statements to stand."
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