Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says he endured a poor and pained night of sleep after he was knocked forward "as if a boulder hit me" at a Staten Island supermarket where he stopped while campaigning for his son in the borough.
The 78-year-old Republican adviser to ex-President Donald Trump said he took a "very, very heavy shot" from an employee at the grocer's Veterans Road store in Charleston around 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
"It was painful all night. It was hard to sleep," Giuliani said Monday at a news conference as he worked to recover from what he described as a shoulder injury. "I'm in pretty good shape for a 78-year-old. Not every 78-year-old is in good shape."
"He could have easily hit me ... knocked me to the ground and killed me," Giuliani said. "The most dangerous thing for elderly people is a fall. It happens in the home often -- not some criminal coming up to you and banging you on the back as hard as he could because he's angry at you, because he disagrees with you politically."
The former mayor says the jab didn't knock him down, but "it hurt tremendously," and that the video didn't tell the whole story, saying that the blow made him stumble and nearly fall.
"I did not know what it was," Giuliani said, and called for the man to be prosecuted. He said he was targeted because of his stance on abortion.
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"He hit me to knock me down. If that doesn't get you jail time in New York, then we have the wild west here," he said. "He started telling me I'm killing women, because of abortion. No no, I'm saving babies."
The 39-year-old ShopRite employee, Daniel Gill, was taken into custody at the scene Sunday afternoon and arraigned Monday on charges of assault, menacing and harassmen, all of which were downgraded to misdemeanors on Monday. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court in mid-August.
Giuliani was not satisfied with the charges being brought, suggesting prosecutors are playing politics.
"You think I worry about this little punk — I worry about this little punk for you. Because if he can come and hurt a 70-year-old man, the next thing he does, he's going to hit you," Giuliani said.
According to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained Monday, Giuliani told cops the ShopRite employee hit him in the back, causing him to "stumble forward, and causing informant physical injury including but not limited to redness, swelling, and substantial pain to the back and left side of his body, as well as causing informant to be placed in fear of physical injury, and becoming alarmed and annoyed.
A woman who was shoulder-to-shoulder with Giuliani at the time of the incident said that the former mayor was targeted, as the employee said to him "hey, you f-----g scumbag."
Giuliani refused medical attention at the ShopRite but said he anticipated going to get checked out by a doctor later Monday.
The supermarket chain said it has suspended the employee pending termination.
"We are aware that an incident instigated by a store associate involving former Mayor Rudy Giuliani took place at our store on Staten Island on Sunday," ShopRite's statement said. "Store security observed the incident, reacted swiftly and the police were notified. We have zero tolerance for aggression toward anyone."
The Legal Aid Society is representing Gill. A spokesperson said that the store employee has no criminal history and called the charges "inconsistent with existing law." The attorney also said that after the incident, one of Giuliani's associates followed and taunted Gill.
A relative of the store employee said that she had no comment when reached by phone.
It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the slap, but the former mayor -- a recent focus of the Jan. 6 committee hearings -- had been out campaigning for his son, Andrew, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in Tuesday's primary.
The slap also came in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's Friday decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a ruling that prompted protests across the country and a number of intense rallies on the streets of New York City.
Andrew Giuliani released a statement condemning the attack on his father.
"The assault on my father, America's mayor, was over politics," Andrew Giuliani's statement said. "We will not be intimidated by left-wing attacks. As governor I will stand up for law and order so that New Yorkers feel safe again."
Before he was known as a Trump attorney describing unfounded international election plots on television, Rudy Giuliani was hailed a national hero for shepherding the city through the 9/11 terror attacks. He had been a U.S. attorney in New York famous for prosecuting mafia figures and later was a Republican mayor known for tackling crime with his “broken windows” theory of policing.
The philosophy involved deterring serious crime by cracking down on minor offenses such as public urination or panhandling window-washers known as “squeegee men.”
Critics said the theory was not effective and targeted minorities, but in his campaign, Andrew Giuliani has called for the return of “broken windows” policing “all around the state of New York.”
Andrew Giuliani has frequently appeared with his father at news conferences, rallies and other campaign events, the two standing side by side behind a podium or in the back of a truck decorated with a “Giuliani” sign.
Often they wear red Giuliani campaign hats — a design that evokes Trump’s famous “Make America Great Again” hat.
Though Trump has issued endorsements in primaries around the country, he has not issued one for Giuliani or opponent Lee Zeldin, a staunch ally.
“I think Trump wonders if he would help or hurt," Giuliani mused last week.