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The co-owner of a New York City bar that authorities said defied coronavirus restrictions was taken into custody early on Sunday, after running over a deputy.
Danny Presti tried to drive away from the Staten Island bar, Mac’s Public House, as deputies were arresting him for serving patrons in violation of city and state closure orders, Sheriff Joseph Fucito said.
Presti struck the deputy and kept driving for about 100 yards even as the deputy was left hanging on to the hood, Fucito said, adding that the 34-year-old was eventually stopped and apprehended. Charges were pending.
Much more conservative than the rest of New York City, Staten Island was the only one of the five boroughs to vote for Donald Trump in November. It is home to many police officers and firefighters and is usually seen as supportive of law enforcement.
Mac’s Public House was the site of protests this week, after sheriff’s deputies arrested Presti on charges of violating restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus and obstructing governmental administration.
The bar is in an area designated an orange zone by Governor Andrew Cuomo and was not supposed to be serving indoors. But the owners declared the bar an “autonomous zone”, a reference to leftwing protesters against racism and police brutality who claimed control over a Seattle neighborhood in June.
The protests outside Mac’s Public House earned the attention of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, via cast member Pete Davidson, who is from the borough and who this year co-wrote and starred in hit film The King of Staten Island.
“I saw the protest,” Davidson said. “People were outside the bar shouting about freedom, taunting the cops, chanting that they should arrest the governor. But it’s Staten Island so I assumed that it was just like a typical last call.
“ … The rule is that they’re supposed to let people eat or drink outside, and the owner said no one wants to do that, because they’ll go out of business. But the argument that people in Staten Island don’t want to drink outside can be disproven by going to literally any Little League game.”
Authorities said the bar was still serving on Saturday night though it had been ordered closed entirely after Presti’s earlier arrest. The front door was locked but customers were being directed to a building next door. From there, they were able to enter Mac’s Public House and order food and drinks.
Mark Fonte, an attorney for Presti, said he had not had a chance to speak to his client but expected him to be arraigned later on Sunday.
A spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio said Presti had shown a disregard for human life.
“Whether it’s flouting public health laws or ramming a car into a uniformed deputy, this individual has endangered the lives of others,” Bill Neidhardt said.
Davidson said the protests were making people from Staten Island “look like babies”.
The injured deputy was taken to hospital, their condition not immediately known.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Owner of Staten Island Covid protests bar held after driving into deputy | New York