New York couple charged with beating up Black hotel clerk in hate crime

Click to play video: 'Connecticut hotel clerk says she was attacked by white guests who called her racial slurs' Connecticut hotel clerk says she was attacked by white guests who called her racial slurs
A hotel clerk was the victim of a reportedly racist attack while on the job. Chrystal Caldwell, who is Black and works as a desk clerk at the Mystic Quality Inn in Stonington, Connecticut, explained that a couple beat her up and yelled racial slurs at her – Jul 14, 2020

A New York couple has been charged with assaulting a Black hotel worker in Connecticut in what police are calling a hate crime.

The duo, per NBC Connecticut, are accused of beating up a Mystic, Conn., hotel desk clerk on June 26 after complaining about a hot water problem in their hotel room.

In recordings obtained by NBC Connecticut, an unidentified Quality Inn employee called 911 and told the dispatcher a guest was “beating up on my desk clerk,” Crystal Caldwell. Another voice can reportedly be heard in the background saying, “I want him arrested now.”

Another call came in moments later from a hotel guest involved in the incident, now identified as one of the suspects. He claimed to have been assaulted by staff.

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Surveillance cameras show the two suspects approaching Caldwell, 59, for a second time, then punching her and throwing her to the ground.

Arrest warrants allege the couple called Caldwell a “monkey,” per the Associated Press (AP).

After being separated by other hotel employees, Caldwell told police she went to put ice on her injured face and was attacked a third time, knocked to the ground and kicked in the ribs.

Caldwell and the two suspects were taken to a local hospital for their injuries. Police said they were unable to stay and monitor the couple because of visitation policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This combination of July 2020 photos provided by the Stonington, Conn., Police Department, shows Philip Sarner, left, and Emily Orbay. The New York couple has been released on bond after being charged with assaulting a 59-year-old hotel worker in Mystic, Conn., in what police say was a hate crime. Stonington Police Department via AP

AP says that the suspects later returned to the hotel, retrieved their car, and left Connecticut before they could be arrested.

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According to Stonington Police, the suspects were later arrested in New York and taken into custody on Monday, WFSB-TV reports.

A man and woman by the names of Philip Sarner and Emily Orbay, who have no permanent addresses but are known to be primarily from Nassau County, N.Y., were taken into custody Monday in Brooklyn and returned to Connecticut, AP says.

Sarner is charged with second-degree assault, third-degree assault and intimidation based on bigotry and bias. Orbay is charged with third-degree assault and intimidation based on bigotry and bias.

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Both were released after posting bonds, US$75,000 for Sarner and US$50,000 for Orbay.

It is not clear if the two accused have lawyers and they could not immediately be reached for comment.

The town has hired an independent firm to conduct a review of the police department’s handling of the incident.

— With files from the Associated Press


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