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Sean Gallup


The Black Lives Matter chapter in Greater New York is speaking out after new details have emerged behind the massive brawl that erupted at the Carmine’s Upper West Side location in Manhattan earlier September, the Atlanta Black Star reported.

The organization believes that the city is using the recently issued vaccine mandate to ostracize Black customers from dining at certain restaurants.

New York City implemented the new rule earlier this month that requires all in-door dining, fitness and entertainment establishments to check patrons for proof of vaccine documentation. Businesses that fail to comply could be hit with hefty fines beginning at $1,000.

BLM New York’s staunch claim follows a heated altercation that occurred between three Black women from Texas, and the restaurant’s hostess on Sept. 16. According to the original report, the three women: Dr. Kaeita Rankin, her niece Tyonnie Keshay Rankin and Sally Rechelle Lewis, got into a scuffle with the 24-year-old staffer after she accused the trio of presenting fake COVID-19 vaccine cards. However, after viewing camera footage of the ordeal and receiving subsequent information from the attorneys representing both parties, new details revealed that the three women did, in fact, provide proof of vaccination before being escorted into the famous Italian food spot to dine, The New York Times reported.

After the women were seated, three men arrived to join the party inside, but two were denied entry because they did not have proper proof of vaccination, lawyers from both parties added.

It’s still unclear as to when it occurred but one of the women, Keita Nkeenge Rankin, who is a doctor, told the outlet that the hostess “spewed out” the N-word after she accused the women of carrying fake vaccination cards.

On Sept. 20, members of BLM Greater New York gathered outside of the famous Italian food establishment to protest in honor of the three Black women who were arrested and charged with assault and criminal mischief, Yahoo News notes.

BLM NYC co-founder and chairman Hank Newsome alleged that Carmine’s treated the three Houston natives with hostility and demanded that the owner, named Jeffery Banks, release camera footage to the public. Newsome believes that the footage will show that the hostess was the antagonizer in the ordeal and not the three women who were wrongfully charged.

“I charge Carmine’s with trying to cover up their employee’s actions by using the vaccination passport as an excuse,” Newsome reportedly said during the protest according to the New York Post.

However, Banks denied those claims.

“This attack was entirely unprovoked,” he insisted, adding that the staffers involved in the scuffle were Latina, Black and Asian American.

“At no point did the women mention that any of the hosts ever made a racial slur. Nor did the women say that to the police officers who arrested them. Nor did anyone hear any such slur.”

“This is because none of our hosts — all of whom are people of color — ever uttered such a slur,” he continued. “When my employees mess up, I hold us accountable. But when our employees are attacked, I will defend them to the limit.”

BLM NYC co-founder Chivona Newsome believes that the mandate peels back the emotional wounds of when Black people were historically disenfranchised.

“Being a doctor does not protect you from anti-blackness. Having a vaccination card does not protect you from discrimination. The 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits the actions of Carmine’s. It says it is illegal to discriminate against you on the basis of race,” she told Yahoo News during the protest.

“We’re putting this city on notice, that your mandate will not be another racist social-distance practice. Black people are not going to stand by, or you will see another uprising. And that is not a threat; that is a promise,” she added. “The vaccination passport is not a free passport to racism.”

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