NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday that former Mayor Rudy Giuliani should be investigated for filing a false police report after “America’s Mayor” apparently made an exaggerated police report about a spat in Staten Island over the weekend.
Giuliani claims an employee at a borough ShopRite assaulted him while he was stumping for his son Andrew Giuliani’s gubernatorial bid. Surveillance video shows the worker tap Giuliani, 78, on the back before chewing out the former mayor. The footage has prompted critics to mock Giuliani for claiming to “feel a shot on my back, like somebody shot me.”
The worker, identified by the Legal Aid Society as Daniel Gill, was charged with felony assault involving a person over the age of 65, but Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon downgraded the charges Monday to misdemeanors for assault, menacing and harassment. Gill’s attorneys have said he “merely patted” the former mayor.
“Someone needs to remind former Mayor Giuliani that falsely reporting a crime is a crime. What he stated, there was a lot of creativity, and I think the district attorney, he has the wrong person he is investigating,” Adams said at an unrelated press conference Tuesday. “When you look at the video, the guy basically walked by and patted him on the back.”
McMahon, a Democrat and former Congress member, declined through a spokesperson to comment, citing the “open case and investigation.”
Adams called Giuliani’s actions “irresponsible” for a former mayor, and said he’d “have a conversation with the police commissioner about whether we feel that was a falsely reported crime.”
“If you don’t have a video, and someone of prominence makes allegations against you, you should not have to wait for a video to determine you did nothing wrong,” Adams said.
In an emailed statement, the Legal Aid Society said it agreed “with Mayor Adams, a former police officer with over 20 years on the force, that this was simply just a pat on the back.”
The organization said Gill was unavailable to comment.
At a virtual press conference Tuesday afternoon, Giuliani called Adams “an idiot,” claiming he never filed a police report and therefore couldn’t be prosecuted.
“His police department filed the report,” said Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor. “They did the investigation. They looked at the tape.”
In the aftermath of the incident, Giuliani told the Post: “I say to myself, ‘You know something? I gotta get this guy arrested,’” referring to Gill.
“I’m like, ‘I’m gonna get this guy arrested as an example that you can’t do this,’” he later repeated.
Andrew Giuliani said Tuesday that the dust-up was an indictment on Adams, a moderate Democrat who has made reducing crime a centerpiece of his administration.
“New Yorkers know all too well that Mayor Adams is not alarmed by innocent people being assaulted on our streets, subways and supermarkets,” the candidate said in a statement. “Voters are headed to the polls today to find leaders who do care about protecting law-abiding citizens from violence.”
Last week, the elder Giuliani slammed Adams as a phony law-and-order candidate.
“He’s worse than Biden,” Giuliani said. “You know why? He overpromised the people — ‘I’m a law and order candidate, I’m going to support the police.’ He comes in, crime is worse than under de Blasio, because he’s not supporting the police. He’s going to concerts, he’s going to shows, he’s wearing $4,000 suits, he’s got all kinds of bling.”
The incident Sunday was allegedly sparked by the Supreme Court’s decision last week to overturn Roe v. Wade, allowing states to freely regulate and prohibit abortion rights. Giuliani said the worker told him “You, you’re one of the people that’s gonna kill women. You’re gonna kill women.”
The Giulianis have not been Adams’ only critics on crime, with the mayor shouldering blame as nearly all categories of major crime increased in New York this year, according to NYPD data. Crime spikes amid the pandemic have not been isolated to New York, with major cities across the country facing similar surges. But that national context, as well murders and shooting incident victims falling in 2022, has not spared Adams from critique.
The moderate mayor has also fielded criticism from more progressive members of his party, who question whether his emphasis on policing in subways is the right approach.
Still, Adams defended officers who arrested a nonviolent subway performer Tuesday, after publicly complaining the nation’s largest police force is not using its resources wisely.
The Thursday arrest was captured in viral videos at the Herald Square subway station, as five officers grabbed musician John Ajilo and placed him in handcuffs. In a statement on Instagram, Ajilo said he was taken to a police station “for performing in the same spot … I had been performing on and off for about five years.”
Adams praised officers Tuesday, stating they handled the situation calmly and were prompted to act after a passenger reported Ajilo for “taking up space on the platform, which can be very dangerous.”
“We can’t have it both ways,” Adams said. “We can’t say we want order in our subway system and then when police officers take action, we say ‘Well, we don’t want that type of order.’”
The arrest came the same week Adams told the New York Post he was “shocked at how bad this place is” while riding the city’s subways overnight. He said the city is not putting NYPD resources to the best use.
“We have not utilized this amazing agency and all our skills,” he said of the NYPD.
Bill Mahoney contributed to this report.