Couple accused of attacking Black desk clerk extradited to Connecticut on assault charges
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A couple that allegedly attacked a Black desk clerk at a hotel was extradited to Connecticut on assault charges on Monday.

Philip Sarner and Emily Orbay were arrested in Brooklyn, N.Y., on allegations they attacked Crystal Caldwell at a Quality Inn in Mystic, Conn. after complaining about not having enough hot water in their room, according to Stonington police, NBC News reported. The U.S. Marshall Service and the New York Police Department took the couple into custody, FOX61 reported.

Police said Sarner and Orbay, who are both white, do not have permanent addresses but are based mostly out of Nassau County on Long Island. Sarner and Orbay were released after fulfilling their $75,000 and $50,000 bonds and are expected in court on July 29. 


Caldwell, 59, and her attorney, M. John Strafaci, told the network that the couple attacked her twice and called her a monkey. 

Hotel surveillance video obtained by local outlet WFSB appears to show the second assault with a man identified as Sarner punching Caldwell as she stands near an ice machine, pushing her to the floor and kicking at her head before the couple walks away

Strafaci said Caldwell suffered a severe concussion and injuries to her right eye, back and knees.

Police said they received two 911 calls at about 11:30 a.m. describing an alleged assault. The first came from one of Caldwell’s coworkers, who said a guest was “beating up on my desk clerk.”

The other came from a hotel guest later identified as Sarner who claimed he was assaulted by staff and that video footage would show them punching him in the head, according to NBC News.

Sarner, Orbay and Caldwell sought medical treatment and were brought to different hospitals. The couple ended up returning to the hotel and leaving the state without police knowing.

Sarner is charged with second-degree and third-degree assault, and Orbay is charged with two counts of third-degree assault. Both are charged with intimidation based on bigotry and bias.

Strafaci told The Hill that Caldwell's legal team is worried that the couple has no known address and employment and had already fled the state.

"Our concern is that these two animals remain a serious flight risk and probably won't return to Connecticut for the court date," he said.

The attorney also accused Stonington police of "lazy police work" on the day of the alleged assault, allowing the couple to go to New York. He said the Caldwell legal team is participating in an investigation of the department, which he said "completely dropped the ball."

Strafaci added that if the incident involved a white woman being allegedly attacked by two Black individuals, the police would have arrested them "on the spot or at the hospital."

--This report was updated on July 16 at 10:55 a.m.