The incident played out against a screening of the PG-13 rated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” itself a movie that drew considerable debate and charged discussion amid its divisive reception.
Celia Riggs, 28, had settled into her seat with her husband, Scottie, and three children to watch the film, the Post reported. Her 2-year-old daughter asked for some popcorn and Karman, 25, told the girl to be quiet, police said.
Riggs “asked the unknown female not to talk to her daughter,” a Nassau County Police Department incident summary said, referring to Karman.
“All she said was ‘popcorn.’ She didn’t even say a full sentence,” Riggs, 28, told the New York Post.
Then it got ugly, authorities said.
Karman allegedly began to curse at the girl and Riggs and placed her hand over the child’s mouth. Then Karman showered the girl in popcorn and struck her with the empty container. Karman then fled with her father, Charles, as Riggs’s daughter cried. The girl had a contusion from the incident, authorities said.
Police did not provide additional details about the arrest, including why the pair was arrested two months after the screening. Police spokeswoman Jean Deluca Scalone did not return an request seeking further details.
The Karmans were charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor in New York, and issued tickets to appear in court, according to police. Keri and Charles Karman, 61, could not be reached for comment. Riggs declined an interview with The Washington Post.
Abby Levitt Ferrara, a friend of Keri, defended her on Facebook, calling the accusation out of character.
“Too bad you didn’t hear the real story!! When asked to quiet the kid, the mother pushed Keri and the popcorn went flying,” Ferrara wrote, according to the New York Post. “Keri never raised a hand in any way . . . there is not an aggressive bone in Keri’s body.”
Riggs disputed that version of events to the paper, denying she ever pushed Karman.
“No one else complained about her. If she was this screaming monster child, someone else might have said something, and between the adults she was with, someone would have taken her out,” she said.