A heckler who clapped former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the back at a campaign event was arrested, jailed for more than 24 hours and now faces an assault charge. The incident took place Sunday at a ShopRite on Staten Island.
Daniel Gill was arraigned Monday on misdemeanor charges of assault, menacing and harassment, CBS New York reports.
Security camera video obtained by the New York Post captured the encounter, which happened as Giuliani was campaigning for his son, Andrew, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in Tuesday’s primary.
Giuliani was standing with a group of people when a man walking past reached out, touched the Republican’s back with an open palm, and then said something as he walked away.
Police said the man said, “What’s up scumbag?” Giuliani said the man accused him of being “a woman killer,” which he took to be a reference to the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
In the video, Giuliani barely reacts when his back was touched, but in interviews afterward he said it knocked him forward and nearly caused him to fall.
“About a third of the way through, I got hit on the back. As if a boulder hit me. It knocked me forward a step or two. It didn’t knock me down. But it hurt tremendously,” Giuliani said Monday during a virtual press conference on Facebook.
Giuliani also told fellow Republican radio host Curtis Sliwa on WABC that it felt “Like somebody shot me,” according to The Associated Press.
The Legal Aid Society, which is representing Gill, told CBS News in a statement that their client “merely patted Mr. Giuliani, who sustained nothing remotely resembling physical injuries, without malice to simply get his attention, as the video footage clearly showed.”
“Mr. Gill was then followed and threatened by one of Mr. Giuliani’s associates who allegedly poked Mr. Gill in the chest and told him that he was going to be ‘locked up,’” the statement added. “He was then needlessly held by the NYPD in custody for over 24 hours.”
Gill was released without bail and is due back in court August 17.
ShopRite said Gill has been suspended, pending termination, CBS New York reports.
In a statement, the company said “store security observed the incident, reacted swiftly and the police were notified. We have zero tolerance for aggression toward anyone,” according to CBS New York.
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