Hotel Worker Attacked

Suspects in Racially-Fueled Attack on Mystic Hotel Worker Released After Posting Bond

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The two suspects accused of a racist attack against a Mystic hotel worker on June 26 were taken into custody and have been released after posting bond, according to Stonington police.

Philip Sarner and Emily Orbay were arrested in Brooklyn, New York by the New York Police Department and the United States Marshals Service early on Monday, police said. They were brought to Connecticut on Monday night and they were released at 1 a.m.

Sarner was charged with second-degree assault, third-degree assault, and intimidation based on bigotry and bias, according to police. His bond was set at $75,000.

Orbay was charged with two counts of third-degree assault and intimidation based on bigotry and bias. Bond was set at $50,000.

They are both due in court on July 23.

A hotel clerk says she was assaulted and the victim of a racial slur after receiving a complaint from two guests about hot water.

Police had been searching for the two suspects in an attack against Crystal Caldwell, a 59-year-old hotel worker.

Authorities last week released 911 calls from the incident.

According to the recordings, the first call on June 26 came from a colleague of Crystal Caldwell at the Quality Inn in Mystic. The woman tells a dispatcher that a guest was "beating up on my desk clerk." She goes on to add, "he is smacking my desk clerk around." Another voice is heard in the background of the call saying, "I want him arrested now."

Moments after receiving that call, dispatchers received another call. One of the hotel guests involved in the assault, who has now been identified as one of the suspects, called police and said, "I was just assaulted by staff." A dispatcher asks how he was assaulted. He replies, "punching my head... It is on camera."

After that call, and as police were on their way to the hotel, the man and the woman he was with were spotted on hotel surveillance video appearing to approach Caldwell for a second time.

The video shows Caldwell getting punched and thrown to the ground. She said that she was not only physically injured, but that the couple also used a racial slur against her.

Police obtained arrest warrants for Sarner and Orbay but they have no permanent addresses, according to police, but are believed to be from Nassau County in New York. Stonington Police said they were working alongside other law enforcement agencies to find Sarner and Orbay.

According to Caldwell, the incident began over a complaint about hot water. She told NBC Connecticut that the guests were rude on the phone and she hung up. Caldwell said that the next thing she can remember is getting attacked.

After the incident, all three people were taken to local hospitals for treatment. Police said they were unable to monitor the couple due to COVID-19 restrictions. While police said they wanted to arrest the couple on the day of the attack, the couple returned to the hotel from the hospital, got in their car and left the state.

The Stonington police chief has requested an external investigation into the police response and department policies and procedures. An independent law firm will do the review and the results will be shared with the public.

At a Board of Police Commissioners meeting Monday night, one caller asked the police department to make a public apology to Caldwell and her family for the suffering she faced. Another asked for the commission to commit to body cameras and anti-bias training for officers.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Stonington Police Department.

On Saturday, people organized a 'Justice For Crystal' rally outside of the Stonington Police Department.

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