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N.Y. state senator and wife attacked and beaten at Niagara Falls casino

Sen. Mark Grisanti
CBS/WIVB
(CBS/WIVB/AP) NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. - A New York state senator and his wife said Saturday they were attacked and beaten at a Niagara Falls casino while trying to break up an argument.

CBS affiliate WIVB reports Sen. Mark Grisanti and his wife are recovering after being punched and beaten during the Friday night altercation. Maria Grisanti told the station, "I thought I was going to die."

The Grisantis were heading home after their night at the Seneca Casino seeing their oldest daughter sing. As they walked through the lobby, Sen. Grisanti noticed two Native American men looking like they were about to fight, he said.

The lawmaker tried to get between them, but when the men found out who he was, one of them punched him in the ribs. As he was doubled over, Grisanti said he felt someone else punch the side of his head.

"He basically asked who I was in a certain fashion. He asked again and I said, "I'm Mark Grisanti. I'm a New York State Senator. And he made a comment like, "You haven't done (blank) for the Senecas, and then punched me," Grisanti said.

"I probably just should have walked away," he said.

While this was happening, two women jumped on top of Maria Grisanti, grabbed her hair, and pounded her face into the floor.

"I didn't even know what hit me. All I knew was, I hit the ground. I was down, and there were two girls on top of me. [They] straddled me, picked me up by my head and just kept continuously slamming," added Maria Grisanti. "I literally heard the hair being ripped out of my head."

"They were big, too. Maybe six feet tall," she said.

The attack left Maria Grisanti with a concussion, and bruising around her eyes and nose. Sen. Grisanti was not seriously injured.

Mark Grisanti said the man who attacked him left the hotel without being detained. He said police told him security camera video of the altercation was "inconclusive." He said he believed one of the women had been charged with disorderly conduct, but for a separate fracas with security guards.

The New York Post reports one of the businessmen and two women involved in the fight have been arrested, and the other was still being sought by cops.

The Grisantis have not made a decision about pressing charges.

Mark Grisanti said that he didn't blame the tribe for what happened. "We've always had a great relationship," he said. "It was just a very strange night."


  • Katie Wiggin

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