A Staten Island woman who was captured on video being dragged by her hair into the street says the incident took place after a deli cashier mistook her for being transgender.
Jasmine Adams, 35, on Monday filed a lawsuit against New York’s West Brighton Deli & Grill and the business’s owner, alleging assault and battery in the July encounter. According to the lawsuit, the cashier became frustrated during a misunderstanding over a purchase of marijuana, and then accused Adams of trying to get him fired while also calling her a “transvestite.” The clerk is not named in the lawsuit, and he has not been publicly identified.
Video obtained by HuffPost appears to show a man in a white Denver Nuggets jersey dragging Adams by the hair, and then kicking her in the head while bystanders react in shock.
One person can be heard saying, “You don’t need to be doing all that.”
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Adams said she went into the deli that night to purchase marijuana for a friend.
Marijuana is legal in New York City, but only nine establishments in the five boroughs have obtained a license to sell it. Thousands of other stores, including delis and convenience stores, currently sell without a license.
Adams told the Daily News that because she herself doesn’t smoke, she called her friend to make sure she was making the correct purchase for $40, which she said the cashier mistook as an attempt to haggle.
“I said it wasn’t about the price and that I was just trying to figure out what I was buying,” Adams told the outlet.
The clerk then allegedly threw the marijuana on the ground after she paid. When she refused to pick it up, he began yelling at her, she said. He allegedly accused her of trying to get him fired when she asked for a refund.
According to the lawsuit, the clerk called Adams a “transvestite” after he observed a pride flag on her watchband, and then allegedly maced her before dragging her outside by the hair.
Adams, who told the Daily News that she is bisexual, said that the clerk had no right to get physical with her, whether or not she is trans.
“Why were you so comfortable putting your hands on me? I wasn’t being aggressive. I didn’t have any weapon. I was a customer,” Adams told the outlet.
The New York City Police Department confirmed to local news outlet PIX11 that Adams had filed a report with details similar to those in her lawsuit. However, no arrest has been made, and an investigation is ongoing.
The NYPD 102nd Precinct and the deli did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.