An Atlantic City hotel and casino faces separate lawsuits from at least eight guests for excessive use of force by security personnel and local police, ABC News reported on Friday.
The plantiffs suing Harrah’s Atlantic City include a financial analyst and a professional poker player whose 17-year-old daughter suffered a broken nose after hotel security forced her to the ground. The altercations involving both plaintiffs were filmed on the hotel’s in-house security cameras.
“I was lying in a pool of my own blood,” the analyst, Robert Coney (pictured above), told ABC News. “I thought I was dying. I thought I was dead.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Coney’s suit accuses two local officers, Donnel Holland and Kevin Sketers, of teaming up to attack him after a September 2013 disagreement over whether Coney could re-enter a hotel event. Holland and Sketers were working as Harrah’s security on the night in question, which would put them in defiance of a ban by Mayor Don Guardian against that kind of moonlighting.
Footage aired by ABC News shows Holland hit Coney in the face with a baton. The lawsuit states that Sketers restrained Coney while Holland continued hitting him, while other security guards punched and kicked him. Coney was subsequently handcuffed and led out of the casino and charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
The footage also shows Coney bleeding from the forehead as he is led out of the casino. But it does not show him pushing officers or charging at them, which one of the officers has claimed.
Professional poker player John Binns, along with his wife Renee and daughter Andrea, filed two separate lawsuits against Harrah’s for their behavior during an August 2012 dispute. The Binns’ suit argues that the hotel computer mistakenly erased their registration two nights into their stay. During an ensuing argument with security, guards surrounded him and took him to the ground.
“All I could say was, ‘Get off of him, he’s got a pacemaker,'” Renee Binns told ABC News.
Security video also shows hotel personnel following Andrea and Renee Binns, then slamming the teen to the ground and handcuffing her while Renee Binns is dragged into a separate room by another man, identified in the lawsuits as the hotel’s security chief.
Neither Harrah’s nor its parent company, Caesars Entertainment, has commented on the lawsuits publicly. But Harrah’s did defend its guards in a statement sent to ABC News.
“Our security personnel are trained to use the least amount of force required to manage any particular incident while ensuring they are taking necessary steps to protect guests, employees and themselves,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Guardian expressed shock at footage of the incidents during an interview with ABC News, saying they would not help Atlantic City’s efforts to be a more inviting tourism destination.
“Beatings can’t be tolerated,” Champion was quoted as saying. “It’s unacceptable. Violence can’t be tolerated.”
Watch ABC News’ report on some of the lawsuits against Caesar’s, as aired on Friday, below.