NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams suggested Tuesday that former Mayor Rudy Giuliani be investigated for filing a false police report for claiming he was assaulted by a heckler who clapped him on the back Sunday at a Staten Island grocery store.
“Someone needs to remind former Mayor Giuliani that falsely reporting a crime is a crime,” Adams told reporters, saying he’d watched security video that undercut Giuliani’s harrowing account.
Giuliani, 78, described being hit so hard it felt like being shot with a gun.
The heckler, who police said cried out “What’s up scumbag?” as he walked away from Giuliani, was arrested and spent more than 24 hours in jail before his arraignment Monday on misdemeanor charges including third-degree assault.
Adams said he thinks Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon “has the wrong person that he’s investigating.
“When you look at the video, the guy basically walked by and patted him on the back,” Adams said. “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.”
Adams and McMahon are Democrats.
Giuliani, a Republican, served as mayor from 1994 to 2001, gaining widespread praise for his leadership after 9/11. Now suspended from practicing law, he served as the personal lawyer for former President Donald Trump and took on a leading role in disputing the results of Trump’s 2020 election loss.
Sunday’s supermarket incident happened as Giuliani was campaigning for his son, Andrew, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in Tuesday’s primary.
McMahon’s office declined comment on Adams’ calls for an investigation into Giuliani. A message seeking comment was left with the New York City police department, where Adams once served as a captain.
Giuliani gave a profanity laced response when asked about Adams’ comments by the New York Post. He called the mayor a “scumbag.”
The heckler was released without bail Monday. He is due back in court Aug. 17. Court records indicate he is now represented by a private lawyer, who did not respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday. A public defender group that represented him at his arraignment decried the man’s arrest.
Giuliani was standing with a group of people when a man walked past reached out, touched his back with an open palm and then said something as he walked away.
Giuliani said the man accused him of being “a woman killer,” which he took to be a reference to the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
In security video, Giuliani barely reacts when his back was touched, but speaking to fellow Republican radio host Curtis Sliwa on WABC, he said he felt “like somebody shot me.” Later, in a news conference on Facebook, he said it was “as if a boulder hit me.”