NYC’s Ruth’s Chris stabber Joan Thompson was defending herself, family claims

A Manhattan mom accused of knifing a rowdy fellow diner in a Ruth’s Chris Steak House was only defending herself, her family told The Post – calling her $40,000 bail “unfair.”

Joan Thompson, 31, claimed to police that she had “no memory” of the Friday night attack at the West 51st eatery where she allegedly stabbed a 24-year-old man in the back and pierced his lung during an argument, prosecutors said in night court Saturday.

“This is not even her fault,” Thompson’s dad Carlos Stapleton said outside of Manhattan Criminal Court after her arraignment.

“My daughter spoke to me about what took place … that she was in a restaurant eating, and people started an argument with them,” said Stapleton, 84. “The man came over, held my daughter down and then the man’s wife going to smack my daughter in the face. Now what is my daughter supposed to do? Lay there?”

The eventual stabbing victim allegedly approached Joan Thompson and her cousin before attacking them.
Christopher Sadowski

Thompson, a Costco supervisor and mother of two sons, was arraigned in front of Judge Kevin McGrath who ordered bail set at $40,000 on the request of assistant district attorney Samantha McCarthy.

“That’s very unfair,” Stapleton said of the bail. Very unfair. That type of bail is not even when it’s the girl’s fault. That means anybody can bother you these days and you can’t protect yourself — that’s what it sounds like. That’s what it is.”

Thompson and a cousin were eating at Ruth’s Chris on Friday night when a large group nearby got into an argument with the restaurant staff over the bill, sources and alleged prosecutors.

But something sparked members of the group to turn their attention to Thompson – possibly a comment that the group was being too loud, sources said. One woman from the larger group allegedly went to Thompson and told her, “You look like s—t, the way you dress.”

The eventual victim started throwing punches and hit Thompson’s cousin, a source previously old The Post.

Cellphone video of the attack obtained by investigators allegedly showed Thompson standing on a chair with a steak knife while shouting, before she makes a stabbing motion toward the victim, prosecutors said in court Saturday night.

“I’m really upset about the whole situation. We were attacked,” Thompson’s cousin told The Post. “We were having dinner. We were having a nice quiet dinner and we were attacked. It’s unfair.”

After the stabbing, the two ran from the restaurant without paying. Thompson was arrested after 2 am Saturday after cops tracked her down using her name from the dinner reservation, alleged prosecutors.

Police arrested Thompson Saturday morning after getting her name from the reservation list at the restaurant.
Police arrested Thompson Saturday morning after getting her name from the reservation list at the restaurant.
Christopher Sadowski

When cops showed her the video of her attack she admitted it was her and said she had gotten into an argument but “claimed to have no memory of the actual stabbing,” alleged prosecutors.

She was charged with assault and menacing but prosecutors said they may increase the charges after reviewing the victim’s medical records.

The victim, reached by phone on Saturday, told The Post “I’m feeling great” but declined to speak further saying “I know you’re looking for a story, but I’m not going on the air.”

Thompson in court wearing a black sweatshirt, black Adidas pants and blue Crocs, with her appeared attorney Quincy Myers requesting she be put on supervised release or released on her own recognizance since she had no criminal record and was a working mother of two songs, ages 21 and 11.

But Judge Kevin McGrath agreed to prosecutors’ bail request because Thompson “left the scene of the crime after she allegedly stabbed someone,” he said.


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