Another violent deli incident takes place on Staten Island, reportedly over beer: an assault or self-defense?

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Authorities allege a 29-year-old man brandished a knife and then used a metal pipe to hit a man in the head at a Stapleton deli.

However, the suspect’s lawyer claims that the 29-year-old man was working in the store and was defending himself against a shoplifter.

Richard Diaz, who lives on Broad Street, was arrested at the deli at 191 Broad Street at 3:15 a.m. on May 19, the day the attack allegedly occurred, according to the criminal complaint and police.

The victim was a 43-year-old man, a source with knowledge of the investigation said.

The criminal complaint alleges that Diaz displayed and pointed a knife at the victim. Police say the suspect punched the victim in the face several times and then brandished a metal pipe to repeatedly strike the victim in the head.

The victim’s injuries included a laceration, bleeding and significant head pain, the complaint said.

Diaz has been charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and intimidation, according to the complaint.

The defendant has denied guilty to all charges and was released on non-monetary considerations. He is due back in criminal court on June 12, according to public records.

Attorney Yan Katsnelson defended the innocence of his client, Diaz.

“Mr. Diaz was protecting himself from a serial shoplifter,” Katsnelson said. “The complainant entered the store and stole beer. When Mr. Diaz tried to stop him, he became violent. It’s just another example of how criminals in New York are protected by the law, while hardworking people get the short end of the stick.”

Arrests on SILive

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