A video of nail salon workers physically assaulting African American customers went viral over the weekend.
The post on Facebook has racked up 800,000 views and counting since Friday, bringing dozens of protesters outside the doors of the salon on Monday night.
How the conflict turns physical is unclear — the footage shows one Asian employee striking three customers with a broomstick, while other employees shove and grab at the customers. The two African American women at the center of the confrontation are Christina Thomas, 21, and her grandmother, 58.
According to The New York Times, employee Huiyue Zheng, 32, and Thomas were both arrested on Friday after the violent scene took place at Happy Red Apple Nails salon in East Flatbush. The police say that Zheng was charged with felony assault and three misdemeanor charges of menacing, criminal possession of a weapon, and harassment. Thomas was charged with assault, menacing, and harassment misdemeanors.
Abby Moses, the mother of Thomas, told the New York Times that Thomas received an unsatisfactory eyebrow waxing and approached the salon’s manager with her concerns, saying that she would not pay for the treatment.
Manager Michael Lin said that Thomas refused to pay for both the waxing as well as a pedicure, and employees responded to the payment issue by blocking the door. NBC4 New York quotes Lin saying, “I said ‘sit down, let me call the police. If the police say you can go, you pay nothing. (If the) police say you pay for the pedicure, then you pay for the pedicure. No eyebrow, no problem.'”
About 100 demonstrators arrived on Monday to closed shutters at Happy Red Apple Nails, demanding that the salon be shut down for good.
In a statement to NBC4 New York, a spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office stated, “We are in the process of examining all the evidence in this case, including videos that were not available at the time of arraignment, and will evaluate the charges accordingly.”
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