A white couple from Long Island was busted in Brooklyn for brutally attacking a black hotel worker in Connecticut, authorities said Monday.
Philip Sarner, 39, and Emily Orbay, 29, are also accused of using racial slurs during two separate attacks on June 26 at the Quality Inn on Route 27 in Mystic.
The second assault was captured on surveillance video.
Sarner and Orbey were arrested in Brooklyn by the NYPD and the United States Marshals Service, Stonington police said, according to NBC 10 News in Connecticut.
The victim, Crystal Caldwell, 59, claims the couple repeatedly called her a “monkey” as they viciously punched and kicked her, she told The Day newspaper.
“That man had so much hate for me in his heart,” Caldwell told the news outlet.
The June attack has authorities also looking into the behavior of the local police department for its handling of the investigation, Connecticut officials said.
“Chief Darren Stewart, with support from the Police Commission, requested an external review of the investigation,” Danielle Chesebrough, Stonington First Selectman, said in a statement on Facebook.
“I have since retained through the law director’s office an independent firm to conduct an external review specifically about this event and the Stonington Police Department Policies and Procedures,” she wrote.
The assault apparently started over an issue with hot water.
Caldwell was working the front desk when she got a call from the couple to complain. She claims they were rude, so she hung up on them. That’s when she said Sarner came down to the front desk, and during an angry exchange, called her an “old monkey” and struck her.
A member of the hotel staff called 911, NBC 10 News in Connecticut reported. A woman told police during that call a guest was “beating up on my desk clerk.”
Then, another call came in, police said. This time, it was from one of the hotel guests, who claimed they were attacked by a staff member of the Quality Inn.
“I was just assaulted by staff,” the person claimed, according to recordings released by authorities.
Caldwell claims after police arrived, they told her to remain in the employee lounge while they reviewed surveillance video. Caldwell told The Day she then left the room briefly to get ice, as her face was starting to swell.
That’s when the second assault took place, she claims. This incident was captured on video, which shows her being punched and kicked repeatedly. Caldwell also claims the couple called her a “monkey,” and said: “‘Black Lives Matter? Your life doesn’t matter, you don’t deserve to live on this earth.‘”
Stonington police, however, deny the claim they were present during this assault.
“Completely false,” the department said on Facebook. “The first assault occurred at 11:33 a.m. One witness took the victim to her office and then called police; and the second assault occurred at 11:37 a.m. — all prior to any police arrival at the Quality Inn. This is supported by video surveillance.”
Police also claim that employees had difficulty with the video and they did not actually see the footage of the assault until three days after the attacks.
Cops also noted that witnesses did not report hearing any of the racial slurs.
When they arrived at the Quality Inn, police said, Caldwell, Sarner and Orbay all requested to go to the hospital. Cops then interviewed witnesses, and after getting the details, they said they sought to arrest the couple.
Hospital rules relating to coronavirus, however, prevented police from going into the emergency room to arrest Sarner and Orbey, authorities said. Meanwhile, police said, Sarner and Orbay called cops claiming they were being “threatened and harassed by the victim’s family via Facebook.”
Police believed the couple would have to return to the hotel for their belongings, which they thought was locked away in their room. However, authorities said they were unaware the couple had already taken their belongings from the room, and after going to the hospital, were able to flee the state.
Warrants were issued for their arrest, and they were taken into custody Monday, NBC 10 News in Connecticut reported. Both face multiple charges, including assault and intimidation based on bigotry and bias.