New York couple accused of attacking black hotel worker appear in court amid protests


They face charges of intimidation due to bias and assault.

Philip Sarner and Emily Orbay were captured on surveillance video hitting and kicking Crystal Caldwell, a hotel worker at the Quality Inn in Mystic, Connecticut, on June 26 last year.

Video of the attack appears to show Sarner and Orbay approaching Caldwell near an ice machine. Sarner appears to punch Caldwell, push her to the ground and headbutt her. Orbay appears to hit Caldwell on the head.

Caldwell’s attorney, Mr. John Strafaci, told ABC News the incident took place after the couple complained of a hot water problem.

They both now face charges of intimidation due to bias and assault during the attack which Caldwell said was racially motivated.

“During the attack, he made racist comments and insults, calling her a monkey,” Strafaci alleged.

Sarner also faces another harassment charge for allegedly making harassing phone calls to Strafaci.

Sarner and Orbay, of Long Island, New York, were arrested last July in Brooklyn for their alleged role in the attack, according to The Hartford Courant.

They appeared in New London Superior Court in Connecticut for a hearing on Wednesday, where they were greeted by a group of protesters who chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, these racists need to go,” the affiliate reported. local ABC WTNH.

Sarner appeared to raise his hands and dance, as Orbay blew kisses at the protesters.

“He has no remorse. The only thing he regrets is getting caught,” Strafaci said of Sarner after the couple’s interactions with protesters at the courthouse.

“It’s one of the most vicious assaults I’ve seen,” he added. “Just a situation where you have a lady who works in a hotel [who] did nothing to deserve it.”

Strafaci said Caldwell suffered head injuries, an eye injury and a severe concussion as a result of the incident, and she may require surgery. He said she also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and continued to have nightmares about the assault.

“It’s going to be a long, long time that I can’t stop dreaming about his steps and his kicks, walking on my head. It’s going to be a long time,” Caldwell told WTNH outside the courthouse.

The state’s attorney’s office on Wednesday offered Sarner and Orbay a plea deal. If they pleaded guilty to all charges, Sarner would be sentenced to nine years in prison, suspended after five years of service, and three years of probation. Orbay would be sentenced to six years behind bars, suspended after two years, followed by three years probation, Strafaci said.

The couple are due back in court in July to accept or reject the plea deals.

Sarner and Orbay’s attorney, Kevin Smith, did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment. Smith said last August, “We would obviously dispute the nature of the assault,” arguing for reduced bond for the couple, according to The Day.


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