NEW YORK – The owner of a New York bar that earlier in the week declared itself an “autonomous zone,” defying public health orders and becoming the scene of protests against the restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, ran over a deputy Sunday as authorities tried to take him into custody.
Daniel Presti, 34, an owner and general manager of Mac’s Public House on Staten Island, tried to flee when New York City Sheriff’s deputies went into the bar after watching customers enter it through an adjoining empty commercial space, WNBC reported.
Authorities said Presti ran from them, got into his car and hit a deputy with it as he tried to drive away. Presti continued driving with the injured deputy clinging to the hood of the car, investigators said.
Presti was eventually stopped and taken into custody. Charges are pending, WNBC reported. The deputy was taken to a hospital for treatment. He is expected to be OK.
It is Presti’s second arrest this week for being open. He was also arrested and charged Tuesday with obstruction of governmental administration and unauthorized food and beverage service, CBS News reported.
The bar is in an area with restrictions on indoor dining. Earlier in the week, owners declared the bar an autonomous zone in order to not comply with the rules, CBS News reported. In response, its liquor license was suspended and it was issued orders to vacate and cease and desist. It was also fined $1,000 for each day.
It became the site of a protest Wednesday with deputies standing at the entrance and a crowd demanding the bar be reopened, WNBC reported.
Keith McAlarney, another of the bar’s owners, said he kept it open the last two weeks even with the tighter restrictions in place and called on other businesses to do the same.
“It’s time for all small businesses and every citizen, it’s time to stand up and open up,” McAlarney told WNBC. “All small businesses stand up. The citizens are there, they want you open. We need to make a living.”