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Sunday, December 06, 2020

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Mac’s Public House owner charged with assaulting deputy; released from custody

By Kyle Lawson | Updated 4:58 PM; Today 3:59 PM

STATEN ISLAND — An owner of Mac’s Public House arrested Sunday for allegedly assaulting a New York City Sheriff’s Office deputy with his vehicle was released hours later without bail, after being arraigned in Richmond County Criminal Court, St. George.

Danny Presti, 34, was arrested for the second time in a week after authorities say he attempted to flee an arrest for defying city and state coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines.

Presti faces a slew of charges that include: second-degree assault with intent to injure an officer; third-degree assault; first-degree reckless endangerment; unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle; menacing, and failure to obey a police officer, court records show.

He was released on his own recognizance (ROR) after appearing in front of a judge Sunday. The second-degree assault charge is not included in a list of crimes exempt from monetary bail, per legislation passed and then modified in Albany earlier this year.

A spokesman for Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon did not respond Sunday to a question as to whether the office agreed with the ROR, or if it was the sole decision of the judge based on the request of defense attorneys.

According to the criminal complaint, uniformed deputy sheriffs posted outside the Grant City bar Saturday night called Presti out by name as the owner exited the building.

Presti allegedly fled on foot to his 2020 Jeep, parked on South Railroad Avenue. Authorities say he then drove into a uniformed officer, who clung to the hood as Presti continued to accelerate, making a left onto Lincoln Avenue and another left onto North Railroad Avenue, before deputy sheriffs were able to bring the vehicle to a halt.

Defense Attorney Mark Fonte said prior to the arraignment that the only surveillance footage he had seen showed sheriffs’ vehicles surrounding his client’s car on Railroad Avenue and pulling him out to arrest him.

“I’m not saying it did not happen, but I don’t see any evidence of it so far,” Fonte said. “I’m also putting the pieces together.”

Fonte could not immediately be reached following the defendant’s arraignment and release.

Mac’s Public House — located in an area designated by state officials as a micro-cluster coronavirus orange-zone — has become a flashpoint for some fellow bar owners and city residents who argue indoor dining and drinking should be allowed to continue.

The tavern first found itself at the center of controversy when it said on Nov. 20 that it planned to continue indoor dining in defiance of the state guideline.

Tension between the restaurant and state officials erupted last Tuesday night when the Sheriff’s office executed a law-enforcement action and arrested Presti the first time, issuing a partial vacate order for the business."

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