Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Amy Walsh, a 26-year-old woman who was brutally attacked in a holding cell at Harrah’s Atlantic City Resort and Casino.
Walsh, a resident of Metuchen, arrived at Harrah’s in August 2012 for a bachelorette party. Walsh and the five other attendees entered The Pool After Dark, a nightclub inside the resort, at approximately 11 p.m. and were seated in their reserved VIP area. Despite having made a reservation for six people, there were only five chairs present in the VIP area when they arrived; they added another chair from the unoccupied table nearby and no objections were made by employees or service staff of Harrah’s.
Later, a waitress informed the group that they were only allowed to have five chairs in the VIP area. One of the bachelorette party attendees asked that the six chairs be allowed because three of the attendees were visually impaired, a fact that Harrah’s management was made aware of at the time of the reservation, and that there were a number of empty chairs nearby.
The women asked to speak to a manager, who was adamant about the five-chair maximum in the VIP area. Despite having made a reservation for six people and having six chairs in the area previously, the manager refused to accommodate their request and instead called security.
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Security guards lifted Walsh and dragged her out of the club, losing her shoes in the process. Walsh, a diabetic, pled with the guards to be more careful because cuts on her feet could potentially lead to a life-threatening condition. The guards ignored her request, dragging Walsh through the hotel corridor and humiliating her in public view.
Walsh and her cousin, who were both detained, were not informed that they were under arrest, that their civil liberties were to be denied, or that she was charged with any offenses. The security officers on duty refused to provide badge numbers or identifying information to Walsh’s cousin. Individuals who appeared to be working with security took photos, took videos, and made insulting remarks toward Walsh while she was being wrongfully detained in the holding cell.
Walsh’s cousin remained handcuffed to the bench in the holding cell while Walsh stood in the doorway with her phone and purse, surrounded by security. Walsh was afraid to leave her cousin in the hands of the unidentified security officers, so she raised her phone to take a picture of the officer’s badge.
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One of the security officers present, identified as Officer Dayton Brown, grabbed the phone from Walsh’s hands and pushed her into the holding cell area with both hands. Officer Brown pushed Walsh over, pulled her up from her neck, choking her, pushed her into the steel plated wall of the holding cell, shoved her into the bench with his forearm, and choked her again with his hand around her throat before slamming her face first into the steel plated wall as she was handcuffed. (She was not handcuffed at all during the process until after attempting to take a picture.) Walsh was then brought back into the public view and humiliated while she waited in handcuffs for the police to arrive.
The lawsuit states that Officer Brown assaulted, battered, pushed, kneed, shoved, choked, and used additional unnecessary, excessive, brutal, and sadistic force on Amy Walsh during the incident. The security officers standing around the holding cell did nothing to intervene as Walsh was falsely imprisoned, handcuffed, arrested, and assaulted. Walsh suffered severe pain, feared for her life, and suffered great anxiety and emotional distress during the incident.
The defendants in the civil suit are Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation, the parent company of Harrah’s Hotel & Resort, and a number of security officers and supervisors.
The security at Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City have a history of shockingly violent encounters with patrons, including:
- Anthony Flora, a 36-year-old handyman who suffered several broken teeth, bruised ribs, and chronic back pain after security guards threw him to the ground in September 2012
- John, Renee, and Andrea Binns, a family of three who were wrestled to the ground, beaten, and humiliated by security personnel in August 2012
- Sean Oaks, who was kicked, punched, kneed, and stomped on by security—one of whom said to “break his arms if you have to”—during a May 2014 visit to The Pool After Dark, a nightclub inside Harrah’s
- Rob Coney, who was jumped by security, beaten unconscious, and unlawfully taken to a holding area by Harrah’s security personnel, some of whom were Atlantic City police officers moonlighting at the casino