We mentioned yesterday that arrest would be the next step after Mac’s Public House, the Staten Island Pub, openly defied the Coronoavirus restrictions. On Tuesday night, police agencies rolled up and officers hauled off Danny Presti, one of the owners of the bar, in handcuffs.
Mac’s Public House on Staten Island is in an “orange zone” and have openly defied New York’s covid regulations because they say the lockout rules infringe on the right to feed their families. In the orange zone, inside eating is strictly prohibited.
When the officers arrived, they issued no summonses, and there was no warrant. So the arrest appears to have been done at the behest of higher ups, without the proper paperwork. Which set off the crowd watching. Chants of “Danny, Danny!” and “Leave, Leave” broke out as the crowd watched the arrest.
“Five officers from the Sheriff’s Office stood outside Mac’s Public House as Danny Presti was whisked away in handcuffs by sheriffs at 7:15 pm He and Keith McAlarney own the Grant City Tavern.
State Senator Andrew Lanza was also at the scene. He gave a speech to the crowd, which included dozens of restaurateurs from across the island who came to show their support for McAlarney and Presti.
“This order just says they must cease and desist,” Lanza told officers at the scene after flipping through a multi-page order. “Nowhere here is there an arrest warrant, nowhere here is anything about the arrest of anyone on their private property. So I’ll ask, [and] you don’t have to answer… why was he arrested? I was told you would tell me why he was arrested and now I’m asking for this answer.
When the crowd started yelling at the officers, Lanza asked for calm.
‘I understand that we are very attached to this,’ he told the crowd. ‘I feel as much as you do, I assure you. But speaking loudly gives people an excuse not to respond to us. So let’s not give them the excuse. If they don’t want to answer, they don’t have to answer. We respect law enforcement in Staten Island like no other borough. ‘”
The real problem came when an attorney representing the Staten Island pub, Lou Delormino, was issued a summons for $5000 just for being present. Issuing a summons to the attorney for their own client is asking for trouble. Delormino states that he was assured that his client would be issued a summons for “criminal intrusion.” In his own establishment.
Think about it – being arrested for trespassing in his own business – it has happened numerous times in places where citizens have attempted to defy the powers that initiated the unconstitutional restrictions.
“But we also have questions… as American citizens. You just took one of our constituents, one of our neighbors, a business owner, handcuffed. I asked why … this piece of paper does not authorize an arrest. If there was another reason you arrested him, I’d like to know what it is… So I see you have the power to arrest people who are sitting in their own establishment, on private property. Stick around. Here on Staten Island we love law and order, but what I just saw here… it really deserves an explanation. Because it really confuses us all here. … I can tell you, as a lawyer, this piece of paper did not authorize what you did here.… At some point, someone will have to answer for what happened here. Because it is wrong.” NY State Senator Andrew Lanza
Featured photo: Screenshot of police at Mac’s Public House
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