Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was slapped on the back by a ShopRite employee while campaigning for his son inside of a Staten Island supermarket on Sunday.
The man, Daniel Gill, 39, was taken into police custody at the New York City store, the New York Post reported. He has no prior arrests, and was charged with second-degree assault involving a person over age 65.
His charges were later downgraded to third-degree assault, third-degree menacing, and second-degree harassment, the New York Post reported.
The worker is “suspended pending termination,” Wakefern Food Corporation, ShopRite’s parent company, told Insider on Monday.
Giuliani was campaigning for his son Andrew Giuliani, a Republican who is seeking the nomination for governor of New York.
“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. Store security observed the incident, reacted swiftly and the police were notified. We have zero tolerance for aggression toward anyone,” a ShopRite spokesperson told MarketWatch.
Giuliani was not immediately available for comment, but he did speak about the incident with several news outlets on Sunday, however.
“All of a sudden, I felt this tremendous slap on my back or banging on my back. I didn’t know what it was,” Giuliani told CBS New York.
Video footage of the altercation went viral, leading Giuliani’s name to trend on Twitter
overnight Sunday into Monday. The CCTV footage was also widely shared on Reddit.
“People around me helped me,” Giuliani said Monday. “People around me secured the person who did it. The videotape that you see probably is a little deceptive because it just shows that hand on my back.”
In the video, Giuliani doesn’t appear to be hit very hard, but he said, “I mean, suppose I was a weaker 78-year-old and I hit the ground, cracked my skull, and died,” the former mayor added in a radio interview on “The Curtis Sliwa Show.”
And in a Monday video posted on Giuliani’s Facebook page, he said he was hit on the back “as if a boulder hit me.”
Giuliani said that the man who slapped him on the back yelled obscenities at him, and said that Giuliani was “going to kill women.” This was likely a reference to the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which had legalized a woman’s right to an abortion in all 50 states for the past 50 years. In developed countries such as the United States, it’s estimated that 30 women die for every 100,000 unsafe abortions, according to the World Health Organization.
Giuliani, a Republican, does not currently hold any U.S. government position. He previously served as former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney. And Trump appointed three of the Supreme Court justices who voted to strike down Roe v. Wade.
Andrew Giuliani said that his father is doing fine, while adding, “it’s a sad day when New Yorkers’ greatest crime fighter, ‘America’s Mayor,’ is attacked. I blame the left-wing for encouraging violence. This is crazy.”
Andrew Giuliani is seeking the Republican nomination for governor of New York in Tuesday’s primary election, facing off against Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and businessman Harry Wilson.