The mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, has suggested his predecessor Rudy Giuliani be investigated for filing a false police report, after claiming he was assaulted by a heckler who clapped him on the back at a Staten Island grocery store.
“Someone needs to remind former mayor Giuliani that falsely reporting a crime is a crime,” Adams told reporters, saying he had watched security video that undercut Giuliani’s account.
Giuliani, 78, described being hit so hard it felt like being shot.
The heckler, who police said cried out, “What’s up scumbag?” as he walked away, was arrested and spent more than 24 hours in jail before arraignment on misdemeanor charges including third-degree assault.
Adams said the Staten Island district attorney, Michael McMahon, “has the wrong person that he’s investigating”.
Adams said: “When you look at the video, the guy basically walked by and patted him on the back. It was clear that he was not punched in the head. It was clear that it didn’t feel like a bullet. It was clear that he wasn’t about to fall to the ground.”
Adams and McMahon are Democrats. Giuliani, a Republican, was mayor from 1994 to 2001, gaining widespread praise for his leadership after 9/11. Now suspended from practicing law, he was a personal lawyer for Donald Trump and took on a leading role in disputing Trump’s 2020 election loss.
The supermarket incident happened on Sunday as Giuliani was campaigning for his son, Andrew, who lost in his bid for the Republican nomination for governor in Tuesday’s primary.
McMahon’s office declined comment on Adams’ remarks. A message seeking comment was left with the New York police department, where Adams was once a captain.
Giuliani gave a profanity laced response when asked about Adams’ comments by the New York Post. He called the mayor a “scumbag”.
The heckler was released without bail on Monday. He is due back in court on 17 August. Court records show he is represented by a private lawyer, who did not respond to a message seeking comment. A public defender group that represented him at his arraignment decried the man’s arrest.
Giuliani was standing with a group of people when a man walking past reached out, touched his back with an open palm and then said something as he walked away.
Giuliani said the man accused him of being “a woman killer”, which he took to be a reference to the supreme court ruling overturning the right to abortion.
In security video, Giuliani barely reacts when his back was touched.
Speaking to fellow Republican radio host Curtis Sliwa on WABC, he said it felt “like somebody shot me”. Later, in a news conference on Facebook, he said it was “as if a boulder hit me”.