New York State Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-SI) is asking for an investigation into the arrest of Staten Island activist John Tabacco, who was charged with prison trespass after refusing to put on a face masks throughout a ballot-counting session on the Board of Elections’ borough headquarters.
“When a ballot watcher that’s lawfully current is eliminated and arrested for having damaged no legal guidelines, our democracy is underneath assault,” Lanza mentioned Saturday.
Tabacco — who’s on the November poll as an unbiased candidate for comptroller — mentioned he complied with a well being screening as he arrived Thursday to function a ballot-counting monitor for Vito Fossella, the previous congressman operating for borough president.
“Query 7 mentioned, are you vaccinated? I mentioned sure,” Tabacco informed The Submit. “The shape mentioned that in case you are vaccinated, carrying a masks is non-compulsory.”
However when the maskless Tabacco tried to enter the counting room, he says he was “bodily bullied” by elections officers who pushed him out the door — after which known as the cops.
“That is hiding-in-plain sight political corruption,” Tabacco mentioned. “We don’t such as you? We’re having you arrested.”
The candidate was handcuffed and left to stew in a holding cell on the one hundred and twentieth Precinct for 2 hours — a “fully unacceptable and outrageous” end result, Lanza mentioned.
“We’re a rustic of legal guidelines, and also you don’t arrest folks except they’re committing a criminal offense,” Lanza, a former prosecutor, mentioned.
“For months we watched as our metropolis was practically burned to the bottom by looters and rioters, and people folks weren’t arrested,” Lanza mentioned. “However a law-abiding citizen was arrested for purely political motivations.”
Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Diaz informed the Staten Island Advance that Tabacco turned disruptive over the masks coverage.
“The security of the employees and public is of the utmost significance for the board,” Diaz mentioned. “As such, board coverage is that each one should put on a masks.”
Tabacco — identified for rallying locals to defend the Staten Island bar that declared itself an “autonomous zone” to open through the pandemic — is scheduled for a court docket listening to on Aug. 4.