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After charges against New Era CEO are dismissed, the man he was once accused of trying to run over speaks out

Daniel Parisi believes Christopher Koch's case was handled differently because of his place in society. Koch's lawyer says Parisi created his own situation.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — We're learning more about a judge's decision to dismiss charges against New Era CEO Chris Koch, and also hearing from the man who says Koch tried to run him over.

Not fair

"It doesn't sit with me very well at all," said Daniel Parisi, who spoke with 2 On Your Side on Friday.

On May 7 an altercation occurred between Koch and Parisi outside Oliver's restaurant on Delaware Avenue, where Koch had gone with his girlfriend, Parisi's former common law wife, with whom he spent 16 years and had three children.

As the argument became more heated, Parisi admittedly yelled to Koch, "lets settle this like men."

Koch was charged with felony reckless endangerment after prosecutors alleged he got in his vehicle and aimed it at Parisi, who jumped out of the way to avoid being hit, suffering a hand injury.

However, a month later Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced that there was not enough proof to sustain a felony charge, and the counts were reduced to misdemeanors.

Then on Monday, a judge dismissed the remaining charges.     

"I feel he (Koch) got treated differently than the normal average person would have been treated," Parisi said. "It's absolutely because of who he is. If it was a person of color or someone less privileged, we wouldn't having this conversation right now."

For the defense

Koch's attorney Paul Cambria, who insists his client was trying to drive past Parisi, not at him, in an attempt to end the altercation and escape the parking lot, argued that Koch was not acting recklessly in his response to a dangerous situation that he did not create. 

He also referred to Parisi's remark to Koch about settling things like men to be "fighting words" of a threatening nature.

"I was 20 feet away from his vehicle and was not threat to him," Parisi said. "I didn't have a weapon of any sort. ... All that being said, does that give him the right to hop in his vehicle and try and hit me with his car?"

In his decision to dismiss the charges, Buffalo City Court Judge Andrew C. LoTempio wrote, "But for the complainant's (Parisi's) personal choice to put himself at the scene, the entire incident would not have happened. Indisputable."

LoTempio wrote further, "This court also questions whether this event is proper subject for a criminal court. It seems any disputed claim of injury or request for restitution is more appropriate for civil litigation."

Disputed trip

While Parisi described his encounter with Koch and his former common law wife back in May as one of mere happenstance, Cambria had produced surveillance footage from camera's at the home of Parisi's ex, and Koch's separate residence, showing Parisi driving by both prior to the encounter.

In addition, according to Cambria, further surveillance footage detected Parisi parked at a gas station near the restaurant prior to the couple emerging.

Cambria used the term "stalking" when describing Parisi's behavior.

"I was not stalking them," Parisi insisted. "I was quite used to seeing them together."

Parisi insisted that he drove by the homes of his ex and Koch out of concern for his children.

"I drove by (her house) to pick up my son, and she wasn't there," he said. 

Then upon being informed by his son that his 11-year-old daughter had gone to a park alone, Parisi said he became concerned for her safety with nightfall approaching.

"So, I drove by Chris's house to see if their mother was there to find out why she wasn't watching the children," he said.

Parisi further said that when he saw Koch's vehicle at Oliver's, he swung into the gas station in order to circle back for another look, and that's when he saw Koch and yelled to him.

Parisi says he plans to pursue civil litigation against Koch.

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