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Police: Ex-LI couple arrested, face bias charges in Conn. beating

Philip Sarner, 39, and Emily Orbay, 28, both

Philip Sarner, 39, and Emily Orbay, 28, both formerly of Nassau County. Credit: The law office of attorney M. John Strafaci

Authorities have confirmed the arrest of two suspects, formerly of Nassau County, sought in an alleged bias beating of a Black female hotel clerk last month in Mystic, Connecticut.

The pair, identified as Philip Sarner, 39, and Emily Orbay, 28, both of no known address, were arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service and the NYPD Monday in Brooklyn, said Stonington, Connecticut, police.

The arrests follow a complaint alleging that on June 26 Sarner and Orbay, who are white and described by police as boyfriend and girlfriend, attacked the 59-year-old Black clerk, identified by her attorney M. John Strafaci as Chrystal Caldwell of Groton, Connecticut, while "using racial slurs" in an incident recorded on surveillance at the Mystic Quality Inn.

Sarner faces charges of second-degree assault, third-degree assault and intimidation based on bigotry and bias, police said. Orbay faces two counts of third-degree assault and intimidation based on bigotry and bias.

Stonington Police Capt. Todd Olson said the couple waived extradition and were brought to Connecticut Monday. Early Tuesday, Sarner was released on $75,000 bond, while Orbay was released on $50,000 bond, Olson said. The two are scheduled to appear July 29 in New London, Connecticut, Superior Court, Olson said.

It was not clear Tuesday if Sarner or Orbay was represented by counsel.

An online search of court records showed Sarner was arrested last August in Nassau in a domestic violence case and that a warrant against him had been stayed. Those records show he was released on his own recognizance but later posted $90 bond and $10 cash bail. He is due back in court on those charges Aug. 14.

Sarner was represented by a public defender in those proceedings, records indicate.

Last week Strafaci told Newsday: "They [Sarner and Orbay] were using racial slurs while they were beating her," adding: "To just brutally assault a 59-year-old woman because of the color of her skin, people like that don't belong in the civilized society. . . . She has been having nightmares and flashbacks and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder."

Police and Strafaci said Caldwell was attacked twice by the couple, minutes apart, the second attack while police were en route to the hotel.

Caldwell suffered a concussion and her right eye was injured in the attack, Strafaci told Newsday last week. He said she also may have reinjured a surgically repaired knee.

Responding police transported Sarner and Orbay to a nearby hospital for medical treatment following the incident but Stonington police have said those officers were not allowed access into the building due to COVID-19 protocols.

Police said the officers planned to arrest the couple on June 26 but said that unknown to police, Sarner and Orbay were released from the hospital, returning to the hotel via Lyft — and then rushing to their own vehicle in the motel parking lot and leaving. Surveillance video at the motel captured that scene, authorities said.

Strafaci said the initial attack on Caldwell followed an angry call by Sarner complaining his room had no hot water.

Olson said that Sarner had been in contact with Stonington police prior to the arrest and said he and Orbay arranged their surrender Monday in Brooklyn.

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