State news

New York couple arrested in attack on Conn. hotel clerk

STONINGTON, Conn. (AP) — A New York couple is charged with assaulting a 59-year-old hotel worker in Connecticut, in what police say was a hate crime.

Philip Sarner and Emily Orbay, who have no permanent addresses but are known to be primarily from Nassau County, New York, were taken into custody Monday in Brooklyn, New York, and returned to Connecticut.

Sarner and Orbay are accused of attacking Crystal Caldwell, a 59-year-old Black desk clerk at a Quality Inn in Mystic, on June 26 after complaining about a lack of hot water in their room.

The couple, who are white, called Caldwell a monkey and punched her in the face, according to arrest warrants.

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

All three people were taken to a local hospital for treatment of injuries, where police said they were unable to stay and monitor the couple because of visitation policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarner and Orbay later returned to the hotel, retrieved their car and left the state before they could be arrested.

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

It is not clear if they have attorneys 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.


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