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Texas women accused of assaulting NYC hostess say slurs were against them

The Texas women accused of assaulting a hostess at Carmine's Italian Restaurant in New York City say that racial slurs were used against them.

The women - 44-year-old Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 21-year-old Tyonnie Keshay Rankin and 49-year-old Sally Rechelle Lewis- were arrested last week after footage circulated on social media showed the women crowding on an employee outside of a restaurant, almost knocking over the hostess and staff.

At the time, it was reported that the hostess had asked the group to provide proof that they were vaccinated under New York City's vaccine mandate for indoor public spaces.

But The New York Times reported that the debacle actually began after two men who joined them minutes later were unable to provide proof of vaccination.

According to security footage reviewed by the Times, the three women were ushered into the restaurant after providing proof of vaccination. Minutes later, three men arrived to join them, but only one man showed a vaccination card.

Shortly after, the women join the other two men outside and a fight breaks out.

Justin Moore, an attorney for Nkeenge, told The Times that before the fight, the hostess "begins spouting out derogatory comments, and speaking with two of the women; they claim that the N-word is being spewed out."

"They also heard the hostess say, 'Yeah, you guys can leave my restaurant,' or something very aggressive like that," Moore continued. "When Dr. Rankin hears that, she turns around and addresses the hostess. She tells her: 'This isn't your restaurant. You're just a staff member here. Please address us with respect.'"

In a statement to NBC News, a spokesperson for the restaurant said that the women were welcomed into the restaurant, but then "launched an entirely unprovoked, brutal attack."

"None of the attackers offered any reason for their attack. None of the hosts - all of whom are people of color - uttered a racial slur," the spokesperson said.

The Hill has reached out to Carmine's for comment.

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