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Couple Appears in Court After Attacking Black Hotel Clerk and Allegedly Using Racial Slurs in Connecticut; Victim's Attorney Says They Have 'No Remorse'


Illustration for article titled Couple Appears in Court After Attacking Black Hotel Clerk and Allegedly Using Racial Slurs in Connecticut; Victim's Attorney Says They Have 'No Remorse'
Screenshot: The Day/ YouTube

Last June, a couple from New York was caught on video attacking a Black hotel clerk in Connecticut. An attorney for the victim, Crystal Caldwell, said he believes the attack was racially motivated because “racial comments and slurs” were made while she was being beaten by the white man who is also alleged to have made harassing phone calls to the attorney.

On Wednesday, the couple appeared in court, but witnesses say that on their way to court, they were met by protesters who the couple allegedly appeared to mock, likely because they’re too dumb to realize that showing a lack of remorse doesn’t bode well for defendants charged with violent crimes—or maybe they’re just too proud of what they did to care.

From ABC News:

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

Video of the attack appears to show Sarner and Orbay approach Caldwell near an ice machine. Sarner appears to punch Caldwell, shove her to the ground and kick her head. Orbay appears to hit Caldwell’s head.

Caldwell’s attorney, M. John Strafaci, told ABC News the incident took place after the couple complained about an issue with hot water.

They now both face charges of intimidation due to bias and assault in the attack that Caldwell claims was racially motivated.

“During the assault, he was making racial comments and slurs, calling her a monkey,” Strafaci alleged.

It really doesn’t matter what led up to the attack—especially if we’re talking about entitled people losing their shit and attacking a Black hotel clerk because the hot water in their room isn’t working—because what is seen in the video is clear: Caldwell is seen in a room minding her own business when a white man walks in and punches her and is later seen dragging her out of the room and continuing to attack her while she was on the floor.

On Wednesday, Sarner and Orbay appeared at New London Superior Court in Connecticut and were met in front of the courthouse by protesters who chanted, “Hey, hey, ho ho, these racist folks have got to go,” according to ABC affiliate WTNH. Orbay reportedly blew kisses at the protesters while Sarner reportedly danced to the chants.

“He has no remorse,” Strafaci said of Sarner. “The only thing he’s sorry about is that he was caught.

“It’s one of the most vicious assaults that I’ve seen,” he continued. “Just a situation where you have a lady who’s working at a hotel [who] hasn’t done anything to deserve it.”

Strafaci also mentioned that Caldwell “sustained head injuries, an eye injury and a severe concussion following the incident, and she may require surgery,” ABC reports.

Meanwhile, Caldwell spoke to reporters outside of the courthouse about the way the attack has affected her mental health as well as her physical wellbeing.

“It’s gonna be a long, long time that I don’t stop dreaming about his stepping and kicking, stepping on my head. It’s going to be a long time,” she told WTNH.

More from ABC:

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

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

According to The Day, the couple’s attorney Kevin Smith said while arguing in court for a reduced bond for his clients: “We obviously would dispute the nature of the assault.”

Strafaci said that he and Caldwell “don’t have plans for any civil lawsuits,” but he said they were “upset [the couple] didn’t take it seriously, probably because she is a Black woman from Groton and not a white woman from Mystic,” The Day reports.

Caldwell thanked protesters Wednesday saying that they “have no idea that my strength is coming from you.”

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