MS Coast casino ‘battered, restrained and detained’ one of its VIP guests, lawsuit says

A gambler is suing Beau Rivage Resort & Casino after arriving as an invited VIP with a complimentary room and leaving the next evening in handcuffs.

Florida resident Brent Nettles admitted during pretrial testimony in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Gulfport, that he was “tipsy” on the evening of Friday, March 11, 2022, when he encountered Beau Rivage security. A security officer, and then a manager, told Nettles to leave, but he didn’t.

That’s when security officers descended on him.

“I was battered by the security guards, thrown to the ground, tripped, and basically body-slammed on the floor, and that’s when I looked up to tell my wife to film this.” Nettles said during sworn pretrial testimony. “We’re all in shock. What the hell just happened?”

Nettles was handcuffed with zip ties and escorted across the casino floor by multiple security officers to a back room, where he was belted to a bench and eventually arrested for trespassing. His lawsuit says security “battered, restrained and detained Nettles without probable cause.”

In the civil lawsuit, Nettle accuses the Beau Rivage and one of its security guards of battery, false arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, gross negligence and other wrongs. He seeks an unspecified amount in damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, humiliation and emotional distress. He also is asking for punitive damages, court costs and attorneys’ fees.

The Beau Rivage has denied any wrongdoing and maintains the casino had every right to have Nettles arrested for trespassing after he refused to leave the bar. The Beau Rivage’s written response to the lawsuit says the casino “would have been within their rights to tell the Plaintiff to leave because they didn’t like the shirt he was wearing. Such is the nature of the law permitting business owners to choose their customers. “

Beau Rivage says patron refused to leave

Nettles, a general contractor, said in his pretrial testimony that he likes to gamble and has visited the Beau Rivage an average of twice a year since it opened almost 25 years ago.

He said that he also visits Las Vegas . All told, Nettles said, he spends $15,000 to $20,000 a year gambling. “It’s entertainment to me,” he said.

Over the years, the Beau sent him “many pamphlets” inviting him to visit, he said. For the visit in question, he received an email from a Beau Rivage casino host, offering him a complimentary room and other perks. He and family members decided to make the trip for “stress relief and to eat crawfish,” he said.

Nettles said he liked to play blackjack and slots. Before he went to the bar the night of his arrest, he had lost $5,000, he later said.

At the bar, he nursed his losses with Crown Royal and ginger ale, sitting with his wife and parents. A band was playing. Nettles and his wife danced, then he excused himself to go to the restroom.

Security officer George Barnes Jr. said in pretrial testimony that he first noticed Nettles when he “stumbled” walking back into the bar, then “staggered back to his seat.”

Barnes asked Nettles to leave, but Nettles said he would just switch to water. Barnes wound up calling his supervisor, security manager Peter Jones, who convinced Nettles he would have to go.

In pretrial testimony, one of Nettles’ attorneys, Monty Tynes, asked Jones, “And is it your position that the Beau Rivage ejects anybody from the casino that’s intoxicated?”

Jones said, “Yes. If we observe intoxicated guests, they’re asked to leave.”

Biloxi gambler wonders what he did wrong

Nettles said he was leaving, but then realized that he hadn’t paid the tab and walked back in the bar to do so. A number of security officers are shown on video wrestling Nettles to the ground. Security cuffed Nettles and walked him through the casino to an exit.

Once in a back room, Nettles complained numerous times about the handcuffs being too tight before they were loosened. Nettles declined medical attention, casino video shows. He said in his pretrial testimony that his left wrist was injured and that he still has problems, sometimes dropping items from his hand and suffering tremors.

The Beau Rivage argues Nettles has produced no evidence to show the handcuffs caused the injury or that he was physically harmed in any other way.

Before the police arrived that night in March 2022, Nettles’ father joined him on the bench. “What did I do?” Nettles asked.

His father responded, “I don’t think you did anything but sit there and have a drink.”