Police Search for Couple Accused in Racist Attack on Mystic Hotel Worker

Connecticut police are searching for a New York couple accused of assaulting a 59-year-old hotel worker in Mystic while hurling racial epithets.

Police said Monday they have issued arrest warrants for Philip Sarner and Emily Orbay, who have no permanent addresses but are known to be primarily from Nassau County, New York.

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

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same that I was a week ago in my mind,” Caldwell told NBC Connecticut.

The couple, who are white, called Caldwell a racial slur and punched her in the face, according to the warrants, which charge Sarner with second-degree assault and Orbay with third-degree assault.

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.

“This whole thing started on an issue with some hot water and when two employees were talking to these people in the hallway before the first assault, he didn’t assault them over the hot water. He pushed past them and charged down the hallway to attack Crystal who's Black," said Caldwell's attorney John Strafaci.

"There's no need for what happened to me, to get physically harmed at my age, no need," Caldwell added.

All three people were taken to a local hospital for treatment of injuries, where police said they were unable to monitor the couple.

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

The incident prompted a June 29 demonstration outside the Stonington Police Department, with about a dozen protesters demanding justice for Caldwell.

Police said the arrest warrants were issued after they finished reviewing all of the evidence, including security video of the incident.

AP- Associated Press and NBC Connecticut
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