A dispute over a vehicle boot ended up in a violent confrontation Wednesday night in Red Hook. Police say when it was over, a security guard at American Yacht Harbor and the suspect wound up in the emergency room at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital.
The suspect — identified as Levi Registe — was arrested when he also showed up in the emergency room for treatment of a broken hand. According to the account filed in court by Police Detective Dwight Griffith, he met and spoke with Registe while he was at the hospital, taking a statement from the injured security guard.
Registe was charged with multiple offenses, including assault, disturbance of the peace by fighting, and possession of a knife in the commission of a violent crime. Griffith appeared Friday as a witness at Registe’s initial hearing in Superior Court, Magistrate’s Division.
According to court documents, the disturbance appeared to be related to an unregistered vehicle parked at the marina complex, which had been booted by security.
A witness told police that Registe appeared agitated Tuesday night as he entered Bernie’s Tavern on the first floor at the Red Hook marina complex. The bartender told police the defendant ran through the bar, saying, “You are going to get it.”
Moments later, security guard Neroy Thomas encountered Registe on a complex stairway and told him he would have to leave. Instead, an altercation broke out.
The incident was captured by security cameras.
Public Defender Frederick Johnson Jr. asked the detective, who prepared the probable cause fact sheet, how Registe broke his hand. Griffith said it could have happened during the fight on the staircase or it could have happened when a second security guard joined the fray.
At that point, a two-by-four wooden plank came into play. “Based on the surveillance, you could see (the security guard) had a two-by-four in his hand and you could see him swinging it,” Griffith said at Friday’s hearing.
The second guard was identified as an off-duty Superior Court marshal. Thomas was transported to Schneider Hospital for treatment of stab wounds and a dislocated shoulder.
Before the testimony began, Johnson told the court he wanted to see the two first-degree-assault and one of two third-degree assault charges dropped. As Griffith’s testimony ended, Superior Court Magistrate Simone Van Holten-Turnbull upheld all charges.
“It’s clear that the security guard sustained injury. The court notes that premeditation could occur in a second, and the court notes that there was a knife, which is a dangerous weapon,” Van Holten said.
The magistrate also turned down a request by the prosecutor to double the $75,000 bail. Johnson said the bail amount, as initially set, was too high. He asked the court to be lenient since it was his client who suffered broken bones and the amount would force him into poverty.
“My concern is not whether your client can pay the bail. My concern is whether your client is a danger to the community,” Van Holten said.
With that, the magistrate set a 20 percent cash payment on the $75,000 bail to allow Registe’s pretrial release. If the defendant can make bail, the court said he can return to work as a day laborer but must observe a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, pending trial.
An appearance for arraignment is set for Nov. 18 at 10 a.m.