NBC10.com - Ted Greenberg
A popular casino in Atlantic City is under fire after three separate lawsuits accused the security guards of brutality. NBC10's Ted Greenberg speaks to two of the people who are suing Harrah's.
A popular Atlantic City casino is under fire after three people filed lawsuits accusing the security guards of brutality.
Jean Smith, a cab driver, says he was outside the Harrah’s Casino back in 2011 and asked a valet about another taxi driver cutting the line. That’s when Smith says security officers at the casino grabbed him by the throat, shoved him down and kicked him while he was on the ground. Part of the incident was captured on surveillance video.
“That day, I thought was going to be my last day,” Smith said.
Smith insists he never threatened anyone or did anything to warrant the attack. Jean Saintel, another cab driver, says he was also attacked by the security guards for no reason in a separate incident in 2011.
Saintel, who was born in Haiti, says he was waiting outside the casino for a customer who had called him when a Harrah’s security guard approached him and told him to leave. Saintel says the guard then slammed him down and put his fingers in his nose.
“I didn’t do anything to him,” Saintel said through a translator.
Both cab drivers say they were handcuffed and taken to a holding area before they were finally released. They each filed civil lawsuits against the casino, claiming the officers were reckless and negligent during the incidents.
“It’s an ongoing pattern,” said Jude Nelson, the attorney for both men. “It’s an ongoing issue that needs to be dealt with.”
A third person, Renee Binns of Lee County Florida, also filed a lawsuit against the casino after an allegedly unprovoked attack from the guards. Binns says she along with her husband, John Binns, and 17-year-old daughter were attacked by Harrah's security guards in August of 2012.
The lawsuit claims that John Binns repeatedly asked for a manager after he was having issues with the hotel room keys. He was then told he was no longer a guest at the hotel, according to the suit. Binns says he was then approached by security guards who pulled him to the ground as his wife and daughter watched.
Renee Binns told NBC2 that she and her daughter were then attacked by guards after they went to grab their belongings in another room. The lawsuit claims that one guard flipped the 17-year-old teen over his hip and onto the ground, fracturing her nose.
The family filed a lawsuit against Harrah’s on Friday.
NBC10 reached out to Harrah’s for comment on the three lawsuits. The casino’s parent company responded in a statement which claimed they had a long-standing policy of not commenting on pending litigation. In a document filed in the Smith case however, officials with the casino deny all of the allegations.
“It’s out of control to say the least,” Nelson said. “Obviously there’s a lack of training.”
Both Smith and Saintel say they still suffer pain due to the attacks.
“What they are doing is criminal in nature,” Saintel said.
Smith’s case is set to go to trial on March 3. A trial date has not yet been set for Saintel.
All three lawsuits are seeking monetary damage.