The Hamptons Police Department is under fire this week after a video showing a man being forcibly removed from a sidewalk dining table in the village of Sag Harbor went viral.
According to witnesses, the man featured in the video had sat down at a sidewalk table in front of a restaurant and had proceeded to unpack a picnic he had brought for himself.
“It was a pretty nice spread he had going on,” one witness said. “He had a baguette and a round of brie, a small jar of cornichons, grapefruit halves and a nice bottle of rosé. He seemed very contented.”
The managers of the restaurant, on the other hand, were not so content with the man’s choice of location for his picnic, and they asked him to leave. The man refused, contending that the sidewalk on which the restaurant’s tables are located is public property, and therefore fair game for anyone who wants to sit at them. After approximately 20 minutes of an increasingly belligerent back and forth between the man and the restaurant staff, the police were called.
Video of what transpired next appears to show police hauling the man, kicking and screaming, into a waiting police van. Because of the man’s desperate unwillingness to give up his table, officers were required to use considerable force against him.
“I felt bad,” remarked one onlooker. “His jar of pickles went flying, and his grapefruit went face first onto the sidewalk.”
The Hamptons Police are a conducting a review of their handling of the incident. Meanwhile, the question of who is allowed to sit at sidewalk tables remains unresolved.