Rob Coney of Pennsylvania has brought the latest in a string of lawsuits involving violent and traumatic encounters with security at Harrah’s Atlantic City Resort and Casino.
According to court documents, Coney and a group of friends entered The Pool After Dark, a nightclub inside Harrah’s Resort and Casino, around midnight on September 21, 2013. Later that night, Coney walked toward the exit of the nightclub, then turned around and joined his friends, who were walking right behind him. Security personnel confronted Coney, telling him re-entry was prohibited and asking him to leave.
Coney tried to explain to security that he never left The Pool After Dark, but security officers insisted that he leave. According to police reports, two of the security officers involved were members of the Atlantic City police, who were working for Harrah’s while in full police uniform.
The security officers pushed Coney, screamed in his face, and brandished their batons as they walked behind him to the exit. Once in the lobby outside of the club, security officers beat Coney with batons and other officers held him in place as he struggled to get away. Coney was punched, kicked, tackled, and beaten on the ground in what the lawsuit calls a “gang-like attack by security personnel.”
Coney was eventually beaten unconscious, put in handcuffs, and unlawfully taken to a holding and detention area—instead of taken to receive medical attention, which was severely needed. Coney was eventually taken to the emergency room, and shortly after he was taken to Atlantic City Municipal Court, where the officers charged with him resisting arrest, aggravated assault, and disorderly conduct. Coney was held in Atlantic County jail until the following evening, when he was released on bail.
Two of the charges against Coney were dismissed, and he was only charged with a count of petty disorderly conduct.
The lawsuit, filed August 7 against Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation, states that Coney committed no offense that justified arrest and the arrest violated federal and state constitutional law, statutory law, and administrative code.
“At all times, conducted himself within the bounds of the law and hotel guest rules and regulations,” the lawsuit states. “ did not behave or conduct himself in any way as would reasonably provoke any type of restraint, nor the attack, which ensued.”
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Attorney Michael Maggiano and attorney Paul D’Amato sent letters on Tuesday, August 12, to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the state of New Jersey, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, urging them to review Coney’s claims.
“We are asking for a criminal investigation because we believe that the Atlantic City police crossed the line and used deadly force without any justification at all upon Mr. Rob Coney,” Maggiano said.
The lawsuit points to a larger issue within the Harrah’s corporation—a pattern of reckless management and aggressive security officers that has contributed to the injury of the Binns family,Sean Oaks, and others.
“The attack was made at the approval, behest, knowledge, acquiescence, and direction, as well as the direct and/or indirect participation of supervising management, with malice and reckless indifference,” the lawsuit states.