Encore Boston Harbor Casino Violence Leads to Three Injured Police Officers

Posted on: March 1, 2020, 04:50h. 

Last updated on: March 1, 2020, 11:27h.

One Massachusetts state trooper suffered a concussion and two other officers were injured during two separate arrests of violent guests at Encore Boston Harbor this weekend, news reports said.

The Encore Boston Harbor was the site of violent arrests, again, on Saturday. Three police officers were injured, one of whom has a concussion. (Image: Bloomberg News)

During the first incident, two state troopers suffered injuries when arresting an allegedly uncooperative man in the poker room at the Everett gaming property shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday, television station WCVB reported.

Encore security officers alerted the state police they needed help with the allegedly violent player, later identified as Brandon Wangnoon, 25, of Brockton. As the struggle continued, one of the troopers used a stun gun to immobilize Wangoon, WCVB said.

The troopers were eventually able to put handcuffs on Wangnoon. But when he was being led away through the Encore lobby, he allegedly became violent and threatened the troopers again. And when he was outside, he got into another struggle with the troopers, the report adds.

He was forced on the ground until an Everett police van arrived and he was driven to the Everett police station. It is believed he was placed in a holding cell at the station.

During the struggle, one of the troopers suffered a head injury. Later Saturday, while being examined at Massachusetts General Hospital, the trooper was diagnosed with a concussion, WCVB said.

The second trooper got back injuries during the arrest. He did not require hospital treatment.

Initially, Wangnoon was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, the report said. State police said they will add the charge of assault and battery on a police officer, the report adds.

Both troopers were on duty at the casino early Saturday and are assigned to the specialized Gaming Enforcement Unit, news reports said.

Then, at about 4:20 a.m. Saturday, an Everett police officer suffered injuries while arresting another suspect at the Encore. The suspect allegedly got into a fight at the casino shortly after the closing time of its bars.

The suspect, later identified as Brian Navarro, 24, of Dorchester, was charged with assault and battery on a police officer after he allegedly struggled with the officer, WCVB said. None of the injured police officers was identified.

Encore Claims Number of Recent Arrests Is Lower

In response to the incidents, Encore Boston Harbor said in a Saturday night statement to local TV stations:

“The safety of our guests is of paramount concern for us. More than 20,000 people enjoyed the casino yesterday. We employ more than 30 security personnel and the Gaming Enforcement Unit of the Massachusetts State Police had several officers on site last night, as they do each and every day.

Violence has not increased over the last few months,” the Encore statement adds. “On the contrary, we have seen a reduction in the number of arrests.”

But radio station WBZ reported on Saturday that many troopers were injured when arresting patrons at the casino last month.

When reached for comment, the Rev. Richard McGowan, a finance professor at Boston College who closely follows New England gambling trends, told Casino.org on Sunday the violent arrests are at the Encore are “not at all surprising.

“Encore is trying to increase the number of players to increase slot play. It will need to increase its security. It appears that has not happened,” McGowan added.

Following the Saturday morning arrests, additional police patrols were assigned to the Encore area Saturday night, WBZ added. The station also reported police radios were malfunctioning in the casino.

Representatives of the State Police Association of Massachusetts will meet with Everett Police Department officials over the police officers’ concerns.

Another Police Officer Reportedly Needs Neck Surgery

An official from the union representing state troopers told WBZ several troopers and sergeants were injured during arrests of unruly patrons over recent weeks. One officer will need neck surgery because of his injuries before returning to duty, the report adds.

In January, four suspects were arrested in connection with a violent assault at the Encore, WBZ said. Last November, over 160 people reportedly were arrested or given a summons over the five months since the casino opened in June.

In November, preliminary findings from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s (MGC) ongoing public safety impact study indicated that activity at Massachusetts casinos is comparable to other non-gambling facilities of similar size and number of visitors, an MGC statement released last November to Casino.org said.

Encore Boston Harbor is a $2.6 billion property that includes a total of 3 million square feet and sits on 33 acres. Just the gaming floor alone is 210,000 square feet.

Last weekend, slots at the Encore Boston Harbor temporarily malfunctioned because of a suspected computer failure at the new casino, leaving some frustrated players, news reports said.