Seven people charged with attacking restaurant hostess over COVID-19 rules

Published 10:01 pm Friday, January 22, 2021

Seven people have been charged in an attack last year on a restaurant hostess trying to enforce COVID-19 dining rules.

The teenage hostess was punched multiple times in the face and hit with a “wet floor” sign during the Aug. 9 confrontation at a Chili’s restaurant in Baton Rouge.

The East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office charged Tammy Dabney, 48, with aggravated battery this month, The Advocate reported. Arraignment on the felony count is set for Feb. 17. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

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Kelsy Wallace, 17, was attacked after telling a group of 11 people who tried to dine together that only six people could be seated together at one table, per restrictions set during the pandemic, police have said. As Wallace tried to figure out what to do with the large group, the altercation turned physical.

Wallace was cut above her right eye from the sign attack, requiring five stitches to close the wound.

Prosecutors also charged Erica Dabney, 46, with disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor that carries up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $100. Also facing that charge are Lakesha Antoine, 37; Sherrie Monique Bass, 27; Tai Danae Doucette, 27; Dajasha Sade Vernell, 25, all of Baton Rouge, and Larashon Nicole Morgan, 27, of Metairie.

Those charged with disturbing the peace are accused of engaging in an encounter “in such a manner as would foreseeably disturb and alarm the public.” Their arraignments also are set for Feb. 17.

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III declined comment Friday.