Holiday From Hell? Atlantic City Vacationers Describe Being Roughed Up by Harrah's Security


Within minutes, Oaks can be seen on surveillance footage being dragged, handcuffed, into a holding room, with a bloody laceration under his eye. He, too, is now suing the hotel.

A gruesome beating involved Rob Coney, whose 6-foot-7 height made him a standout basketball player in school. An off duty Atlantic City police officer working for the hotel said in a police report that Coney’s size made he and other guards fearful when Coney refused to leave the pool area during one of Harrah’s late-night parties.

Coney said a guard wrongly insisted he had exited the pool party and could not return. Coney acknowledged he had been drinking at the time, like most of those at the party, and said he became upset and used rough language. As his friends tried to calm the situation, Coney said Harrah’s security, including the off duty police officer, surrounded him.

“The next thing I know this officer strikes me in the my throat and then he brings out his baton and strikes me right here on my head,” Coney said. “And then he chases me and beats me.”

Coney can be seen being dragged, collapsed and apparently unconscious, and bleeding from his head. The off-duty officer later alleged that Coney pushed him twice and charged him in a fighting manner, something not seen on the video provided to ABC News by his attorney. Coney later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly person count. No charges were brought against the off duty officer who beat Coney with the baton and Coney has now filed a civil suit.

Nick Casale, a retired New York police officer and security expert, watched the videotapes for ABC News, and expressed deep concerns about the use of force by the security guards and off-duty officer.

“I mean that, that’s an assault,” Casale said.

Casale said no one using foul language, no matter how offensive, deserves a baton beating.

“They may be obnoxious,” he said. “The worst thing you can imagine does not justify you hitting someone with a nightstick – and not just him them, he whaled at ‘em.”

Mayor Guardian said he has been pushing to do more to make the resort a welcoming, family friendly place. He said he had not seen the videos from Harrah’s until we showed them. And he did not like what he saw.

After watching the actions of the off duty Atlantic City police officer with the baton, he said he was going to bring the matter to the attention of his police chief. The mayor added that when he took office at the beginning of this year, he prohibited police officers from moonlighting as casinos bouncers.

“Beating can’t be tolerated. It’s not acceptable. Violence can’t be tolerated,” he said.

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