STATEN ISLAND, New York City (WABC) -- Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani should be investigated for falsely reporting a crime after claiming he was assaulted in a Staten Island supermarket, Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday.
Adams said he will consult with NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell to see if such an investigation is warranted after Giuliani said he was "hit as if a boulder hit me" by 39-year-old ShopRite employee Daniel Gill.
The incident was caught on surveillance video that many say paints a much different picture from what Giuliani claimed happened.
"If we didn't have the video, this person would have been accused with a serious crime when all he did was pat the guy on the back," Adams said. "You can't do sensationalism to carry out your own agenda, and you can't use the police to carry out your own agenda."
Gill was arrested and initially charged with second-degree assault, a felony, although those charges were later downgraded to misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault, third-degree menacing, and second-degree harassment.
He was released on his own recognizance by Judge Gerianne Abriano.
"Someone needs to remind former Mayor Giuliani that falsely reporting a crime is a crime," Adams said. "From what he stated about being punched in the head, it felt like a bullet. What he stated, that was a lot of creativity, and I think the district attorney, he has the wrong person that he's investigating."
Gill appeared in court Monday, wearing his ShopRite uniform. He did not talk to reporters other than to say, "Have a good day, everyone," and he is due back in court on August 17.
"I saw that video," Adams said. "I'm sure all of you who saw the video, you have to ask yourself, he stated, if he did not feel so heroic, or whatever, he would have fallen to the ground...The guy basically walked by and patted him on the back. I don't know if he said, 'congratulations,' I don't know what he said to him. But 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."
Giuliani fired back at Adams, saying he can't be charged with falsely reporting a crime because he didn't file the initial report that he was assaulted.
"I filed nothing, idiot, so you cant prosecute me for anything," Giuliani said. "I didn't examine that tape. Your police officers did."
Giuliani also called Adams a "phony" who "doesn't give a damn about victims."
"Adams gets my respect when crime goes down," he said. "Until then, I don't care how many cufflinks he wears, how much jewelry he has, how expensive his clothes are or how many models he hangs around with. Why don't you stay home and reduce crime, then you can start criticizing other people. Until then, keep your damn mouth shut and do your job."
The Staten Island District Attorney's Office is declining comment pending the open case and investigation.
Police say Gill slapped Giuliani on the back while he was campaigning for his son, Andrew Giuliani, in the state's gubernatorial race.
"It knocked me forward a step or two," Giuliani said. "It didn't knock me down, but it hurt tremendously."
The smack caused Giuliani "to stumble forward" and caused "redness, swelling and substantial pain to the back and left side of his body," according to the complaint. According to prosecutors, Gill said, "What's up, scumbag?" after slapping Giuliani on his back.
"All of a sudden, I heard someone yell at me something I can't repeat about what I am," Giuliani said. "Curse words, dirty curse words, and then some more dirty curse words."
Giuliani says the man kept swearing and ranting to him about "killing women," and when he wouldn't stop, he decided to call the police and have the man arrested.
"This has to stop," he said. "It could have been much worse, of course."
Gill's attorney said he has worked at the store for four years and had no intention of causing the former mayor any physical injury.
"The video is clear," Legal Aid attorney Susan Platis said. "The video is clear that this was just a tap on the back."
The Legal Aid Society also released the following statement about the incident.
"The charges facing Daniel Gill, who has no previous contact with the criminal legal system, are inconsistent with existing law. Our 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'. He was then needlessly held by the NYPD in custody for over 24 hours. Given Mr. Giuliani's obsession with seeing his name in the press and his demonstrated propensity to distort the truth, we are happy to correct the record on exactly what occurred over the weekend on Staten Island."
Wakefern, which runs the ShopRite, also issued a statement.
"Store security observed the incident, reacted swiftly and the police were notified," it read. "We have zero tolerance for aggression toward anyone."
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