Police say former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was slapped inside a supermarket in the New York City borough of Staten Island Sunday while campaigning for his son, Andrew,.
Giuliani told the station that the man, a store employee, was angry over. He said he didn't fall to the floor but the slap was so hard he almost lost his balance.
Police say it happened just before 3:30 p.m. at a ShopRite store.
"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 said.
The 78-year-old Republican said the smack and was followed by a verbal assault.
"There were curse words and kinda threats. It seemed to have to do with abortion, you know, with the fact that he thinks women are gonna die," Giuliani said. "He looked either inebriated or under the influence of drugs, and he wouldn't stop, so a number of the security people came over, they restrained him, and I said call the police."
Police say 39-year-old Daniel Gill, of Staten Island, was taken into custody and is being charged with assault in the second degree.
Giuliani refused medical attention at the scene.
Shortly after the alleged incident, Andrew Giuliani, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor, tweeted, "MAKE NEW YORK SAFE AGAIN!"
He also released the following statement:
"Innocent people are attacked in today's New York all of the time. This particular incident hit very close to home. The assault on my father, America's Mayor, was over politics. 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. This message has resonated with voters throughout my campaign, leading up to Tuesday's primary."
Shoppers who spoke to CBS New York said they were surprised to hear about the assault.
"Violence is always unwarranted, regardless. People have the right to an opinion but not the right to molest anyone physically," resident Francesco Sciortino said.
"Whether you agree with his views or not, nobody should really talk to him disrespectfully, and I just think it was just a terrible thing for the neighborhood," fellow resident Christopher Bellore said.
Wakefern, ShopRite's parent company, released the following statement:
"We are aware of an incident instigated by a store associate involving former Mayor Rudy Giuliani took place at the ShopRite of Veterans Road on Staten Island earlier today. Store security observed the incident, reacted swiftly and the police were notified. We have zero tolerance for aggression toward anyone."
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