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Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Abdou Salam Cisse, 46, was found dead outside the Drunken Monkey Bar around 3 a.m. Monday, June 8,  in Staten Island after attempting to break up a bar fight that started inside the establishment and spilled outside.

Cisse was a 6’7 man from Senegal who had immigrated to the United States in 2010, around that time he began visiting the Drunken Monkey regularly.  He visited enough to become a favorite of Sally Ann Lombardi, manager of the establishment.

“He was a wonderful man, and I’m sick to my stomach,” she said. She spoke highly of him, saying that he was “the nicest man,” and “always tried to make peace,” when altercations broke out in the establishment even though the bouncer had warned him, albeit in a friendly tone, to stay out of conflicts.

Lombardi was so broken that she had a little make-shift shrine in an opaque window on the inside of the bar. “I’m going to have a fundraiser for his family and children,” she said and had already started collecting donations at her bar.

Lombardi was especially distraught because that same night Cisse had promised her that he was going to give her a photo of his teenage son.

When she began talking of what happened that night what stood out were the “kids” who had caused a ruckus in the bar even though they were not supposed to be in the bar at all due to a ban Lombardi had decreed herself on them.

“These kids were no good. They weren’t even allowed in my bar,” she said.

There was a fight that started inside the bar and spilled out into the streets where, according to Lombardi, Cisse was simply asking if anyone needed help and one of those “young punk kids” punched Cisse in the head, twice knocking him to the ground and causing him to hit his head on the concrete and die.

“They need to be put away, these kids. I’ll never see my son again,” she wept. Her “son” is what she called Cisse.

Cisse visited the bar often enough to build a relationship with the woman and even a friendly rapport with the bouncer.

“We were very surprised when we heard he was going there every Friday and Saturday night,” said the president of the Senegalese Association of Staten Island, Papa Drammad.

“A true Muslim, a committed Muslim doesn’t do this,” said Drammad who had met Cisse two years ago at the Sakho mosque in Staten Island.

They didn’t know each other very closely but he said, “we would go to his house, we see each other often.”

“We would feel ashamed. We wouldn’t talk about it,” he said in regards to going to bars and drinking among Muslims. Most of their conversations never strayed far away from community business, he noted.

Drammad does not believe the story police are putting out. “They say he was breaking up a fight and he lay down on the floor.” He also questioned the sincerity of the bar management’s sorrow, “I cannot believe somebody is coming there every week and you open the bar the same day that he is killed.” He believes Cisse’s death “needs a deep investigation.”

“Thank God I’ve never been there. They probably would’ve killed me,” said Imam Muhammad of the Islamic Cultural Foundation of the U.S.A. He is a well-respected Imam in the Staten Island and New York City community.

Muhammad agrees with Papa Drammad. “The bar should not have opened the very same day. Everybody [who was] at the bar is a suspect,” he argued.

He said that three thousand dollars had been given by the community for Cisse’s burial.

Muhammad went on to say, “I have a belief that there are some people who did that on purpose.”

His suspicions were further heightened when the suspect in the murder, Stephen Fasano, 23, was “bailed out for $50 thousand and charged with manslaughter.”

“We want real answers and we want real justice,” was his reaction.

“I don’t believe what is said and what is said is what the bar said,” Muhammad said.

“”I don’t believe it…somebody just took his life,” said Thierno, 32, brother of Cisse in cold shock weeks after his brothers death.

He believes, “God is going to judge,” questioning, “how you kill somebody and pay to get out [of jail].”

When he spoke of his brother he noted that “he was a nice guy, friendly, hardworking guy.” Cisse had two children, a six-year-old daughter living in the U.S. and a 14-year-old son in Senegal.

Thierno claimed he was, “very shocked,” and that the judge’s decision to grant bail was, “disappointing.”

“How you gonna kill people and pay $50 thousand to get out?” That’s not justice,” he said, his voice barely audible.

Thierno questioned how Cisse, who was 6’7, could be knocked to the ground by Fasano, 6’1.

Julie Bolcer, Director of Public Affairs for the NYC Office of  Chief Medical Examiner, stated that Cisse’s death was a homicide caused by “skull fractures, subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhage due to blunt impact.”

Fasano is still awaiting trial for second-degree manslaughter.

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