A 38-year-old Staten Island store employee was arrested for allegedly hitting Rudy Giuliani on the back, an attack that the former New York City mayor says felt as if he had been “shot”.
A surveillance video showed Giuliani standing inside a ShopRite store with a group of people he later identified as his supporters. As he was standing, 38-year-old Daniel Gill walked up from behind Giuliani, slapped his back and continued to walk, the video showed.
The video, obtained and published by the New York Post, also showed Gill saying something to Giuliani as Gill walked past the group standing with the 78-year-old, who has also previously served as a lawyer to Donald Trump.
Gill asked Giuliani, “What’s up, scumbag?”, according to a statement from the New York police department. As the group of onlookers watched, the woman next to Giuliani immediately began patting his back as if to soothe him.
Gill continued to say something while he walked away into an aisle, and another person in a cap tried to talk to him. It was not clear from the video if that man was also a store employee.
As Gill walked into one of the aisles, Giuliani was seen shaking his finger and saying something back.
The New York police department confirmed the encounter to the Guardian and said Gill has been charged with two counts of assault. One of the counts alleges assault on someone 65 or older, the NYPD said.
According to an interview with the Post, Giuliani said he felt “this tremendous pain in my back”.
Giuliani claimed Gill said: “You … you’re one of the people that’s gonna kill women. You’re gonna kill women.” That appeared to be reference to the decision by the supreme court’s conservative majority to overturn the right to abortion that had been established nearly 50 years ago by Roe v Wade.
“Then he starts yelling out all kinds of, just curses, and every once in a while, he puts in that woman thing,” Giuliani added.
The encounter occurred during a campaign event for Giuliani’s son, Andrew, who is running to become New York’s next governor.
Father and son have turned the incident into a part of their political pitch, with the younger Giuliani claiming the slap was the latest example of “the left wing … encouraging violence”.
The elder Giuliani – who refused medical treatment – reportedly said he was pressing charges against Gill to create “an example that you can’t do this”.
Neither ShopRite nor Andrew Giuliani’s campaign immediately responded to requests for comment.
In a statement, Andrew Giuliani said: “Innocent people are attacked in today’s New York all of the time. This particular incident hit very close to home. The assault on my father, America’s Mayor, was over politics.
“I will stand up for law and order so that New Yorkers feel safe again.”
Mentions of Giuliani have been frequent during the recent series of public hearings held by the committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
For instance, the committee aired evidence that, in attempting to overturn election results in service of Trump’s lie about voter fraud in his defeat by Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race, Giuliani told an official the battleground state of Arizona: “We’ve got lots of theories. We just don’t have the evidence.”
A purportedly “inebriated” Giuliani also urged Trump to falsely claim victory on election night, according to evidence that the committee aired during the hearings.