NEW YORK — A black restaurateur says in a civil rights lawsuit that he was wrongfully arrested while trying to help a white patron who was ailing.

The New York Times says charges against MIST Harlem owner Clyde Pemberton and two employees were dropped last year.

Their lawsuit says Pemberton, who's also a physician, tried to help when two women emerged from the restroom with a third woman who was unconscious.

It says one woman punched Pemberton and used a racial slur, then the women pushed, kicked and struck employees.

The lawsuit says white police officers arrived but their supervisor only spoke to one of the women. Pemberton and the employees were initially charged with unlawful imprisonment.

The New York City Law Department says it will "review the case and respond accordingly."