NYC hostess called Houston women racial slur before fight, attorney says; restaurant owner fires back

NEW YORK CITY – The Houston women charged with assaulting an NYC restaurant hostess last week now say through their attorney that the fight started when the hostess called the women “the n-word.”

“It was the Rankins and other witnesses who confirmed this,” attorney Justin Moore said in an interview. “The epithet was the n-word, and one of the women was called a monkey by this hostess… during the shoving match.”

The owner of Carmine’s, the NYC restaurant where the assault happened, denied the accusation, adding that the hostesses involved are all “women of color.”

“Three women brutally attacked our hosts without provocation, got arrested and charged for their misconduct,” Jeffrey Bank said. “[T]heir lawyer [is] falsely and grossly misrepresent[ing] their acts of wanton violence in a cynical attempt to try to excuse the inexcusable.”

Cell phone video that appears to show the Houston women attacking the hostess has been shared around the world. Bank released surveillance footage showing what happened inside and outside the restaurant just before and after the incident.

Kaeita and Tyonnie Rankin and Sally Lewis, from Houston arrived at the restaurant with two other women and a man, the video shows.

They all show proof of vaccination, as required by NYC law for indoor dining, and they are seated. Three other men in their party then arrive but do not have vaccine cards.

The entire party, including the women from Houston, begin to leave together when a restaurant manager can be approaching and talking to the party. Then six of the guests, including the women from Houston, walk back inside the restaurant.

As they do, the video shows one hostess passing them on her way out of the restaurant. One woman from Houston turns around and follows the hostess outside and the others in her party follow. The surveillance video does not have audio.

The woman approaches the hostess from behind, the video shows, and two women grab, shove, and appear to slap the hostess. Her mask is ripped off. For several seconds, the fight is out of frame of the camera.

Sally Lewis and the Rankins are eventually pulled off of the hostesses and other Carmine’s employees.

The women from Houston are charged with misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief and are scheduled to appear in an NYC court on October 5.

Moore said he wants the charges against his clients dropped and the hostess charged with filing a false police report.

Bank said, “the video footage makes clear that the women’s Texan criminal defense attorney is heaving falsehoods to try to get his clients off the hook for the attack.”