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Houston suspect claims innocence in brawl reportedly over COVID vaccine cards at New York City restaurant

The business owner said it was all over proof of coronavirus vaccination cards.

HOUSTON — A rift at Carmine's restaurant went from bad to brawl on Thursday night. The sidewalk scuffle happened in New York City.

KHOU 11's Xavier Walton spoke with one of the women accused of attacking the restaurant employee on the phone Friday.

“I’m innocent,” the woman said.

The business owner said it was all over proof of coronavirus vaccination cards.

RELATED: Police: Three Texas women assault New York hostess who asked for proof of COVID vaccination

"This turned into a mess and from there,” said Jeff Banks, Carmine’s owner. “It's inexcusable. It's ridiculous."

Police say the three women in the viral video are from Houston. They were arrested and charged with assault and criminal mischief before being given desk appearance tickets.

"I'm into protecting yourself from somebody attacking you, but definitely not into violence,” said Elyse Stone.

Police say the 24-year-old hostess took hit after hit. You can see part of it in the  video. The new employee was punched, slapped and scratched when she asked the group for proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a New York City policy to eat indoors.

"Do not assault restaurant workers who are doing their job to keep us safe,” said Gale Brewer, the Manhattan Borough President. “I can't believe this happened here. We have to increase the fines if that's what it takes."

The woman Walton spoke with on the phone said she could not comment, but did say she has hired an attorney.

All three women have a scheduled court appearance in New York on Oct. 5