Lawyer for bar owner denies client struck sheriff's officer

The owner of a Staten Island bar who was arrested a second time for defying COVID-19 restrictions denies he struck a sheriff's deputy with his vehicle.

Sheriff's deputies attempted to arrest Danny Presti, 34, Saturday night after they witnessed patrons being served food and beverages at Mac's Public House. Presti got into his car, struck a deputy, and kept driving for about 100 yards as the deputy was left hanging onto the hood, according to Sheriff Joseph Fucito.

Presti was eventually stopped and apprehended, the sheriff said.

But an attorney for the defiant pub owner painted a different picture Monday during a news conference outside the Grant City establishment.

RELATED: Sheriff: Defiant NYC bar owner hit deputy with his car

"We have an investigation going on," said Louis Gelormino. "We have 80 percent of it on video. Within the four minutes of Danny leaving this pace and the time he was hauled away, it was four minutes, at no time was there an ambulance on scene. At no time can you see an officer injured."

Presti was approached from behind by two deputies who came running at him while yelling, 'Presti.  One of the deputies injured his ankle, added Gelormino.

In New York City, sheriff's deputies are not responsible for criminal enforcement.

"In my life, NYPD makes arrests in this city when it comes to criminality. NYPD was not involved in this. The NYPD wants nothing to do with this. State troopers want nothing to do with this," said Gelormino.

Presti's legal team is searching for the remaining portion of the video. He was arrested with no bail and released.

"If he ran over a sheriff's deputy they would have asked for half a million dollars in bail," said Gelormino.

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"I have nothing but the utmost respect for the NYPD and law enforcement," said Presti. "I think when the investigation is complete you will see that I did nothing wrong."


The Staten Island bar was the site of protests last week after the sheriff's office initially arrested Presti on charges of violating restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus and obstructing governmental administration.

The tavern is in an area designated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as an orange zone because of spiking COVID-19 rates and was not supposed to be serving customers indoors. But the owners had declared the bar an “autonomous zone,” a nod to protesters who claimed control over a Seattle neighborhood in June.


Mayor Bill de Blasio said Presti's actions were "disgusting."

"I think his actions are extraordinarily disturbing," said de Blasio during a briefing from City Hall Monday. "I think they are disgusting. I think it's just – there's no excuse for someone doing something that might threaten the life of a law enforcement officer. And that's what he did."

De Blasio said Presti would suffer the appropriate consequences for the incident. 

With the Associated Press