Sean Hannity: Why Must The Law Apply To White Guys I Like?
Conservative working-class hero Danny Presti refused to shut down his Staten Island bar, which is located in a COVID-19 hotspot. He'd been arrested and fined for violating state guidelines intended to keep people from dying. Naturally, the Fox News crowd adored him.
We imagined this love affair might end when Presti literally ran over a cop. Protesters of police violence have been dismissed as violent thugs after simply bumping into officers or just looking at them the wrong way. They were often beaten and even hospitalized, as a result.
From the New York Post:
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.
As someone who has to live in this country as a Black man, here's my description of events: Presti — who has a record so is “no angel" — fled the scene of his ongoing criminal enterprise and struck a police officer while resisting arrest. I'm hardly the most obvious source to find sympathy for the police, but damn, Petri drove around with the cop as a hood ornament.
This would arguably qualify as the attempted murder of a police officer in performance of his duties. Tucker Carlson defended the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks with far less justification. It's a miracle Presti even survived his arrest, and that miracle is whiteness.
Conservative media hasn't abandoned Presti, who's still their personal COVID-19 Rosa Parks, if Rosa Parks had tried to run over cops with a bus. Presti appeared with his lawyer, who he'll need, on Sean Hannity's show Monday night. Hannity treated someone he'd normally consider an attempted cop killer (if he were Black) like he was a celebrity guest pitching his new project, Please, Don't Lock Me Up.
Before the interview, Hannity derided New York's “draconian" COVID-19 restrictions.
HANNITY: Everybody at this point knows about masks and social distancing. Some people have an appetite for more risk than others. There's still freedom in this country.
COVID-19 restrictions have clearly fallen into a special classification of “laws/rules white people feel they are entitled to break." It's not civil disobedience when you keep your hair salon open during a pandemic. It's a temper tantrum, and Republicans have only indulged these idiots. Now a cop has skid marks on him because Presti refused to follow the law, but Hannity wants to make sure we hear Presti's side of the story.
HANNITY: The arrest occurred following this chase by several deputies. By the way, they're not in uniform. Presti claims that they were dressed in black clothes and didn't identify themselves.
And every cop watching Fox News before their shift wept a little. You'll forgive me if I take great joy in Hannity (selectively) sticking it to Blue Lives Matter.
Hannity continued to defend Presti, claiming the cop was the one who jumped on his car while he was simply trying to escape arrest. Presti and his attorney, Lou Gelormino, joined Hannity from his bar, and Hannity all but wept over how Presti can no longer greet the public and serve them coronavirus.
Hannity also spread more disinformation about how COVID-19 spreads: He suggested Presti's patrons could just avoid their grandparents (presumably forever because they're showing up at a bar every day like Norm Peterson). However, the problem is these dummies could infect someone else who might inadvertently expose their own loved ones. And they never even enjoyed the Tuesday happy hour.
Gelormino bashed the cops for a bit, which is always fun to hear. (He's also claimed the department is lying about the officer's broken legs.) Then Hannity interjected with some peak grossness:
HANNITY: You know what was wrong with the Eric Garner case, counselor?
Garner was brutally killed on a city street like a wild animal. Next question?
HANNITY: Why are they arresting a guy over selling a loose cigarette to begin with? How stupid is that with limited police resources, alright? Okay, you're going to your own car. Now, I'm sure they'll say they did identify themselves. I don't know if we have audio that backs you up. But the bottom line is the way I saw you pulling away you're trying to say, "Get out of the way." And you're going slow to start so obviously, you're scared here too.
Yes, Presti was terrified — probably like Breonna Taylor's boyfriend when the Louisville police broke into her house. George Floyd was also scared when he begged for his life. Jacob Blake is still afraid he might never walk again after police shot him in the back.
Cops and conservatives rarely acknowledge the human fear Black people feel before their beatdowns.
Presti didn't look scared last night on Hannity. He looked pissed that laws he doesn't like and considers unfair still apply to him. Fox News might still treat him like a hero, but he's behaved like a common criminal.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."