A High Falls man was arrested after stabbing a bouncer outside of P&G’s Restaurant and Bar early Saturday morning March 3.
According to the New Paltz Police Department, Nicholas R. Mottsey, 26, slashed Anthony Merritt, 21, of New Paltz. Mottsey was charged with second degree assault, second degree identity theft and fourth degree possession of a criminal weapon: two felonies and one misdemeanor.
At around 4 a.m., bouncers began asking patrons to leave while they closed up the bar. While most people left without a problem, Mottsey ignored the directions of the bouncers.
After being escorted out, Mottsey began banging on the door and taunting the staff inside. At one point, he allegedly pulled down his pants and rubbed his buttocks on the window.
Michael Callaghan, a 21-year-old SUNY New Paltz student, was also bouncing at P&G’s that night.
“He wasn’t actively defacing the property so we didn’t do anything,”Callaghan said.“We didn’t want to start a fight in the street for no reason.”
What Callaghan did not realize was that Mottsey concealed a knife and intended to use it.
As Merritt stepped outside to lock a side door, Mottsey confronted him and pulled out his knife, which he initially dropped on the ground. He then quickly attempted to cover his weapon with his foot. Merritt saw this and warned him not to pick it back up. When Mottsey grabbed for the knife, Merritt shoved him to the ground and put him in a headlock.
“I know I should have gone inside. But when someone pulls out a knife, they are threatening your life,” Merritt said. “In the moment, I attacked him out of instinct. I didn’t realize that he had grabbed the knife.”
In the middle of the struggle, Mottsey slashed Merritt, creating a two-inch gash in his forearm. Two other bouncers, including Callaghan, attempted to wrestle the knife out of Mottsey hand, narrowly dodging his wild slashes.
“We were screaming ‘he has a knife!’ Eventually the police officer across the street noticed the knife and came out of his car,” Merritt said.
The officer approached Mottsey and ordered him to drop his knife. When Mottsey refused, the officer administered a stun gun, which got caught on his jacket and failed to subdue him. Eventually Mottsey submitted and he was taken into custody. Officers reported that he initially provided them with a false name.
“We did not feel safe enough to go inside until multiple officers arrived and slammed [Mottsey] on the hood of the police car,” Callaghan said.
Merritt was treated by the New Paltz Rescue squad on site and transported to Vassar Hospital where he received eight stitches for his injury.
This was not Mottsey’s first recorded offense. In 2014, Mottsey was arrested following a six-month-long investigation of narcotics trafficking in Rosendale. He received two felony charges for criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance (MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy).
The P&G’s bouncers generally meet on a bi-monthly basis to discuss how to handle similar situations. According to Callaghan, he and his bouncers handle, roughly, five physical altercations a week, but he has never dealt with an armed person.
“Our motto is we don’t start fights, we end fights,” Callaghan said. “Our job is not to be intimidating, it is to be friendly, helpful and maintain a positive environment in the bar.”