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New Video Shows Staten Island Bar Co-Owner Danny Presti Allegedly Driving Into Sheriff's Deputy, Presti Says He 'Did Nothing Wrong'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There's new video of an incident involving a Staten Island bar owner and sheriff's deputies that ended with him under arrest.

That man was already facing charges of ignoring COVID restrictions.

He says he did nothing wrong in his latest run-in with the law.

As CBS2's Christina Fan reports, newly released surveillance shows the moment Danny Presti of Mac's Public House allegedly ramming his Jeep into a sheriff's deputy trying to arrest him for defying coronavirus restrictions.

The criminal complaint accuses Presti of acting with "depraved indifference to human life," his attorney, who provided the video, says the images clearly show his client running for his life.

"Two big burly officers came out between a parked car from behind him and yelled 'Presti, hey Presti,' and started running at him. That's what started the whole set of events," said attorney Lou Gelormino.


Presti has been at odds with the sheriff's office and city since he declared his bar an "autonomous zone," allowing patrons to eat and drink inside even though indoor dining is prohibited in orange zones.

Deputies already arrested him once on last Tuesday.

The sheriff alleges that when offices tried arresting him again Sunday, Presti ran to his car, dragged an officer 100 yards, and broke both of the sergeant's legs.

"The deputies do not have broken legs. That's an outright lie," Gelormino said.

Presti's lawyer called the arrest a political ambush, claiming deputies were in unmarked cars, never identified themselves, and clearly jumped on the hood of the Presti's car.

Presti is now charged with assault, but his attorney says it is the sheriff's officers who broke every proper procedure.

"When the investigation is complete, I think you are going to find that I did nothing wrong," Presti said.

Sheriff Joe Fucito told CBS2 the officers who initiated the arrest were "in full police uniform and identified themselves as law enforcement officers."

The bar's defiance drew this massive crowd of support last week.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ripped those supporters.

"They are defending a person who drove his car into a law enforcement officer, drove 100 yards with the law enforcement officer clinging to the hood for his life, and that's who they're championing?" he said. "When you have someone who drives their car into someone, could have killed him, hospitalizes him, how dare you? What signal are you sending when you glamorize that type of behavior? That's right, run over the police. What?"

Cuomo says because of the community's defiance of COVID guidelines, the borough has gone from the lowest death rates in the city to the highest death rate in the city.

The bar owners told Fan the fight isn't over, but they are closing the next few days to regroup.


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