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Staten Island Saloonkeeper Hauled Off to Hoosgow for Daring to Survive

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A police officer grows a thick skin and becomes accustomed to many nasty things most other people do not. The blood, gore, violence, and other evils become routine. However, certain aspects remain difficult for cops to deal with no matter how long they’re on the job. Things such as traumatic incidents involving children. Those calls stay with you for the rest of your life.

Not as disturbing in the same way, but still stomach-churning, is when we watch our fellow officers violating people’s constitutional rights because “they were ordered to.” A reminder: officers are not obligated to enforce unlawful orders. Of course, if a sergeant, lieutenant, or chief orders you to injure or shoot an innocent or helpless person, that would obviously be an unlawful order. Problems arise when the orders don’t involve such obvious circumstances. But what about less obvious situations but those involving a citizen’s constitutional rights?

For example, if my sergeant tells me to take a political sign away from a person peacefully demonstrating in front of a government building, that would be blatantly unconstitutional, and a sure, “no.” Or if a mayor ordered police to confiscate city residents’ guns based on a newly-passed city ordinance, that would be blatantly unconstitutional, and also a big “No!”But what if political leaders can exploit an “emergency?” We saw some of that in New Orleans, during Katrina, when officials confiscated residents’ firearms. And we’re seeing it right now, on steroids (though, happily, not with guns… yet), with the CCP virus.

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Enforcing these “emergency” edicts become more complicated when politicians are exploiting a “health crisis.” Which brings up the ordeal New York State is putting Mac’s Public House in Staten Island, N.Y. through. I became aware of Mac’s (co-owners Danny Presti and Keith McClarney) nightmare when a story flashed across the TV screen of yet another “autonomous zone” being established within America. I served for over two decades in Seattle’s East Precinct, which was annexed by Mayor Jenny Durkan’s CHAZ/CHOP “autonomous zone.” But this one was different.

“!ATTENTION! We hereby declare this establishment an !!!AUTONOMOUS ZONE!!!,” reported the Washington Times. Newsweek reported, Danny Presti said the state revoked Mac’s liquor license and then the health department ordered Mac’s to shut down (ever wonder why libertarians oppose most government licensing?). 

Do you agree that protesting is acceptable, but rioting is not?

Presti has said they cannot afford to shut down. They have to feed their families. Their employees need to feed their families. New York Emperor Andrew Cuomo and Duke of Manhattan Bill de Blasio could not care less. In defiance, but also showing their inclination toward compliance (law-abiding), Mac’s stayed open. However, rather than sell, they gave drinks away in exchange for voluntary donations.

McAalarney said, “We’re not backing down. You think you scared me by… saying I don’t have a license now to serve liquor …? Well, guess what? That liquor license on the wall. If that liquor license is gonna come off the wall, it’s gonna be done by Cuomo. You wanna come down here and pull that license off the wall?” I suspect he knows Emperor Cuomo doesn’t have the guts to do that himself. Too easy to make cops the bad guys instead.

Reportedly, Mac’s truly peaceful protest “‘attracted the attention of the mayor,’ who ordered the sheriff to ‘put a stop’ to the Autonomous Zone.” Well, there’s the bar owners’ problem. They should have followed BLM and Antifa’s violent lead. Mac’s protest was peaceful, but if it had been violent, such as with the militants and radicals, maybe they’d have been hailed heroes by the state’s Democrat politicians.

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But no. Mac’s is not fighting for a left or right cause, either. They’re fighting for a human cause. Their cause is their families’ survival. Their cause is their employees’ survival. Their cause is retaining essential American liberties. Bars are operating a block and a half away from Mac’s. However, as Mac’s lawyer, Lou Gelormino, explained to Tucker Carlson, his Staten Island voting precinct did not vote for the governor or the mayor. But Emperor Cuomo and Duke de Blasio have not finished their parts in perpetrating the “Great Reset” hoax on the people, yet.

Adding to the details of the lunacy, several news outlets have reported plainclothes New York City sheriff’s deputies conducted a “sting” to nab the war criminals working at Mac’s. Reportedly, they “ordered $40 worth of food and beverages….” And after Presti committed the unspeakable crime of filling the deputies’ order, uniformed deputies entered the bar, issued $50,000 in fines, handcuffed, and then arrested him (note: there doesn’t appear to be truth to the rumor, the deputies entered after first rappelling from a black helicopter onto the roof of the establishment).

And, once again, cops are caught in the middle. Orders to violate the previously discussed, blatant unconstitutional edicts might be easier to resist enforcing (1st and 2nd Amendments). But “emergency” orders that your leaders tell you will “save lives” are much more difficult to resist.

I drew my lines as a cop. I would not have been physically capable of arresting Mac’s owner in that circumstance. I’m also extremely uncomfortable watching fellow officers making those arrests and issuing those summons (deputies fined and issued 4 summonses to Gelormino).

Presti told Carlson, “We do want to make clear they are not the NYPD. They are New York City sheriffs. So, NYPD has worked with us… really good guys. We support them fully. This is the New York City Sheriff’s Department, and they have created a blockade and will not let anyone in the place except for myself and Keith and Lou.”

For years, active and retired, I’ve been warning that leftist radical politicians will need police officers to enforce their unconstitutional edicts on their drive toward socialism. I used to say, “good luck with getting cops to cooperate.” And, while I don’t think it’s nearly a majority of cops who are enforcing these restrictions, it’s uncomfortable that some are.

Now, it’s easy to say what you would do or think you would do in such a situation. But it’s difficult when a leader orders you, specifically, to enforce such an order. Again, it can be especially difficult when politicians offer the “excuse” that “you’re saving lives.”

Some of those officers who drive the rest of us nuts by enforcing these non-legislated edicts may sincerely believe they are saving lives. Using a falsely exaggerated “health crisis” in this manner is insidious. What happens to our society when people finally realize much of this “pandemic” was one massive “crying wolf” hoax? What happens if a true plague hits us in the future? Will people trust the authorities? Why should they? They’ve proven themselves untrustworthy.

I’ll conclude with a brief tribute to a national treasure America, Dr. Walter E. Williams, who spoke and wrote often and eloquently about overly intrusive government. Before his recent passing at 84 years of age, Dr. Williams often reminded us of what a great nation America is and what this country means to the world.

This is how Dr. Williams put it, which applies so well to New York City and New York State government’s oppression of Mac’s Public House. Now, for most of human history, mankind has been subject to arbitrary abuse and control by others. It’s personal liberty that’s the rare state of affairs and enjoyed by only a tiny part of mankind mostly in the western world, and for only a tiny part of its history — just a couple of centuries or so. We Americans bear an awesome burden to preserve liberty. If liberty dies in America, it will be dead for all times, everywhere.” [emphasis added]

I hope many other American small business owners follow Mac’s example and that American big business will support them in their quest to reestablish liberty throughout our great nation.

meet the author

Steve Pomper is a retired Seattle police officer. He's served as a field training officer and on the East Precinct Community Police Team. He's the author of four books, including "De-Policing America: A Street Cop's View of the Anti-Police State." He's also a contributor to the National Police Association.

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