New York City sheriff’s deputies shut down ‘autonomous zone’ bar, arrest owner: Reports

A Staten Island bar owner who refused to abide by Democrat New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest restrictions on indoor dining was arrested and led away in handcuffs Tuesday in front of a crowd of outraged supporters, including his attorney and a state senator, Breitbart reported.

Sheriff’s deputies placed Mac’s Public House co-owner Danny Presti under arrest and removed him from the premises of his business after he was deemed to be operating in violation of strict new orders that prohibit establishments in certain designated zones from serving food and drinks.

The measures are intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but many say they’re arbitrary and ineffective — and this business owner wasn’t standing for it.

Bar declares itself an “autonomous zone”

ABC 7 New York reported Monday that in response to Cuomo’s new restrictions, Presti and Keith McAlarney, also co-owner of Mac’s Public House, had declared their business to be an “autonomous zone.” It was an obvious riff on the summer lawlessness of leftist activists in Seattle, Washington, who declared a block of the city to be independent from the local government and its police force in a purported protest.

Alluding to that philosophy, signs on the door and windows of Presti and McAlarney’s Staten Island establishment reportedly read: “We refuse to abide by any rules and regulations put forth by the mayor of New York City and governor of New York state.”

According to ABC 7, the owners insisted that, in an effort to flout the new restrictions, they were not charging anything for the drinks and food that were served (though they were more than happy to accept voluntary donations for their services). However, “that still violates Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s strict dining rules,” Breitbart reports.

While the Seattle autonomous zone was allowed to persist for weeks on end, Presti and company didn’t get so lucky.

Police arrest small business owner

According to the Staten Island AdvancePresti and McAlarney were served with summonses prior to the former’s arrest, including from the state health commissioner’s office and the State Liquor Authority (SLA), which had stripped the bar of its license to serve alcohol. The owners also faced substantial fines for continuing to operate in violation of the lockdown orders, ABC 7 reported.

All of that led to Presti being arrested by five sheriff’s deputies Tuesday, ostensibly for criminal trespass after refusing to leave his own establishment when ordered to do so.

In addition, the Advance reported that one of the bar owner’s attorneys who was present at the scene, Lou Gelormino, was served a $5,000 summons by the deputies after he was mistaken for an employee.

Also present during the arrest was Republican state Sen. Andrew Lanza, who repeatedly questioned the deputies on the lack of an arrest warrant in the “cease and desist” order. You can watch it all happen below in video first shared by the Advance:

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