Lawyer says sheriff allegedly rammed by NYC bar owner’s SUV is lying about broken legs
A lawyer for the Staten Island bar owner who allegedly rammed a sheriff with his Jeep says the department is lying about the injured law man’s legs being broken.
Danny Presti, co-owner of Mac’s Public House, allegedly slammed his new Jeep into sheriff’s sergeant Kenneth Matos, fracturing both of his tibias, while fleeing an attempt to arrest him for illegally operating the rogue Grant City watering hole in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions around midnight Sunday, authorities and law-enforcement sources have said.
But Lou Gelormino, an attorney for Presti, challenged the description of Matos’ injuries in a press briefing held Monday outside the bar.
“That’s an outright lie,” he said. “One of the deputies injured his ankle. Either he tore a ligament or something, we still don’t know the extent.
“Saying that he broke his legs is an outrageous, outright lie, completely confirmed.”
Gelormino cited as proof the fact that Presti was released Sunday on his own recognizance, despite facing a litany of charges including a bail-eligible felony rap.
“If he ran over a sheriff’s deputy, they would’ve asked for a half a million dollars in bail,” said Gelormino.
City Sheriff Joseph Fucito confirmed to The Post following Gelormino’s comments that Matos, 30, did indeed suffer fractures to both legs.
Gelormino did not respond when asked directly by a reporter if Presti intentionally drove into Matos, but offered their version of the events leading to the incident, which was caught on video first published by The Post.
“It happened two blocks away, not in front of this building, on a dark street where two big, burly officers came out between a parked car, from behind him, and yelled, ‘Presti! Hey, Presti!’ and started running at him,” said Gelormino. “That’s what started the whole set of events.
“It wasn’t two officers in uniforms waving their badges in front of them saying, ‘Hey, can we talk to you?’”
The pair was attempting to arrest Presti who, along with co-owner Keith McAlarney, has declared the bar an “autonomous zone” refusing to abide by state coronavirus regulations.
Gelormino said that if authorities wanted to arrest his client, the NYPD should have handled the operation, calling the Finest better trained for such a role.
“In my mind, NYPD makes arrests in this city when it comes to criminality. NYPD was not involved in this in the slightest,” he said. “They want no part of it, neither do the state troopers.”
Ingrid Simonovic, president of the New York City Deputy Sheriffs Association union, issued a statement Monday blasting not just Presti, but Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo for using her members to make such arrests.
“The mayor and the governor, with their ad hoc and often contradictory strategies of placing certain areas of the city in [coronavirus] hot zones has caused one of my members to be seriously injured by the owner of Mac’s Public House, who was fleeing with one of my sergeants on the hood of his car after plowing into him,” she said.
“We understand that the pandemic is greatly affecting businesses in New York City, our economy and the entire world,” she continued. “We also understand these businesses are fighting for their families’ livelihood. But taking their anger and frustrations out on our members is completely unacceptable. The actions of this business owner have caused great injuries to my deputy.”
Presti attended the briefing outside his bar, but offered only a reserved statement without fielding any questions.
“I have nothing but the utmost respect for the NYPD and law-enforcement,” he said. “I think when the investigation is complete, you’re going to find out that I did nothing wrong.”