Plainclothes New York police officers arrested a bar owner for violating coronavirus restrictions after executing a sting in which they ordered food from the restaurant, the Associated Press reported.
The New York City sheriff’s deputies entered Mac’s Public House in Staten Island, New York, and ordered $40 worth of food and beverages, according to a sheriff’s office press release reported by the AP. After they ordered, uniformed officers entered the bar and proceeded to arrest and handcuff the establishment’s co-owner Danny Presti.
“These sheriff’s officers are ‘wannabe’ cops,” Mark Fonte, a lawyer who represents the bar, told the Staten Island Advance. “This is what happens when little people get a little power. Each one of them will have to answer to a federal judge.”
Presti was arrested because he refused to leave the restaurant and was deemed to be trespassing, Lou Gelormino, another lawyer who represents the tavern, told the Advance. Gelormino was present when Presti was arrested and was himself given a $5,000 summons after he was determined to be an employee of the restaurant.
“From what I understand, he’s arrested because he didn’t want to leave [his business], and at that point … they considered it trespassing,’’ Gelormino said, according to the Advance. “I’d like to know why his attorney got three summonses for just being there and being peaceful and respectful and calm, and every one of these officers can attest to that.”
Mac’s Public House is located in an area Gov. Andrew Cuomo designated an orange zone, according to The AP. Restaurants in orange zones are prohibited from serving patrons indoors as the bar was doing.
As of Wednesday, the restaurant has been fined thousands of dollars for various coronavirus-related violations, according to The AP. However, owners declared the bar an “autonomous zone” in reference to the so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, which protesters formed in Seattle over the summer.
The Supreme Court handed the State of New York a legal defeat on Nov. 25, ruling that the state’s restrictions discriminated against religious organizations.
New York City has reported 319,301 total coronavirus cases and 24,287 deaths during the entire pandemic, according to The New York Times.
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