While the denizens and lawmakers of New York City have valiantly fought COVID-19, normalizing masks and social distancing and even shuttering beloved institutions, not everyone has played by the rules. One exception: Staten Island bar employee Daniel Presti, who has become a Fox News regular for repeatedly defying pandemic laws, even allowing patrons to drink and eat indoors, sans masks. He’s been arrested for the crime twice in the span of a week, and his most recent brush with the police allegedly involved him running over a deputy with his jeep.
According to New York 1, the incident happened at Mac’s Public House, where Presti is general manager, in the early hours of Sunday. Police had been staking out the joint, whose windows had been darkened to obscure the illegal activity happening inside. They observed several patrons entering through a back door, but they waited until after Presti was closing the bar, after midnight, to make their arrest.
But it didn’t go so smoothly. Presti — who had declared the bar an “autonomous zone,” free of any pandemic-related laws that might stop the spread of an already out-of-control virus, though the police obviously disagreed — made a run for it. He jumped into his jeep and, in the commotion, allegedly struck one officer, who was thrown onto the vehicle’s roof. Presti kept driving, but he was soon apprehended. The deputy has since been treated for his wounds and was discharged.
It’s a pretty wild story — but it also may not have happened.
A lawyer for Presti says eyewitnesses contradict the sheriff’s account and they have video of the incident, which they can’t share at this time. Here’s Presti being escorted out of the 122nd precinct and into waiting sheriff’s cars around 1pm: pic.twitter.com/1F4Pbzl2FK
— Lydia S. Hu (@LydiaHuNews) December 6, 2020
A lawyer representing Presti disputed the story told in the police report. Whatever the case, the next day the bar manager was escorted from the local precinct and into a sheriff’s car.
The previous time Presti was arrested was on last Tuesday, when he pulled the same stunt, minus the alleged part where he tried to flee the scene and ran over a cop. The next night the streets outside were filled with “patriots,” i.e., people potentially spreading a highly contagious disease.
Though Presti’s been fêted as a hero among conservatives, others have not been so kind. One noted Staten Islander who does not appreciate Presti’s cavalier attitude amidst a global public health crisis is Pete Davidson, who on the most recent SNL started to rail on him on Weekend Update, only to wind up talking about dildos bearing his likeness instead.
Meanwhile, on the day Presti illicitly opened the inside of his bar to patrons, there were reportedly over 200,000 new COVID-19 cases in America and over 2,000 COVID-19-related deaths.