— In a rare display of leniency for the owner of a hair salon in Kentucky who refused service to a man who claimed to be a police officer, a judge Thursday sentenced her to seven years in prison.
The Kentucky Supreme Court on Friday suspended a 10-year prison sentence the salon owner, Bella Vita, who was not identified, had received in June for refusing to strip her customer.
Vita was arrested in March 2014 on charges of harassment and disorderly conduct after she was accused of refusing to remove a man’s headband from his head, court records show.
The man claimed to have been an officer of the Kentucky State Police and the state police officer told the owner that he was a police sergeant, records show, and he also said that Vita had threatened him and that she had threatened to burn his property.
After Vita failed to comply with the officer’s demands, the man allegedly grabbed the headband, which Vita tried to take away from him, court documents show.
The incident occurred on Jan. 3, 2014, when Vita and another woman came into the salon, according to an arrest affidavit.
She told the man she was an employee of a salon in Lexington, Kentucky and that they were working on a hair cut, according the affidavit.
The owner told the woman to leave.
She then asked the man if he was wearing a badge.
Vita refused to remove his headband.
The two women left.
The other woman then came into her shop and said that she wanted to make a request, court document states.
The woman said she wanted a haircut.
Vitas told the two women that she did not need to be an employee and that the haircut would be done by the owner.
The second woman then took a phone number and called the owner, who called the woman back.
She said that if the owner could cut his hair, he would do it.
Vitas then told the women that if she wanted her hair cut that she should call the owner’s phone number, court record states.
Vitalia Vita’s attorney, David Wills, said that his client did not want to comment on the case because of pending litigation.
The owner, James Stokes, is a retired Lexington Police Officer, according a Lexington Police Department news release.
He resigned in September 2016.