Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he wants the supermarket employee accused of slapping him on the back as he campaigned for his son to be prosecuted, adding that if the suspect is released, it could encourage others to attack people with contrary political views.
Giuliani detailed the attack Sunday at a Staten Island supermarket in a news conference on his Facebook page Monday morning.
Giuliani, an adviser to former President Donald Trump, said that he stopped at the ShopRite to campaign for his son, Andrew, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor of New York, and that he was talking to people when he felt the smack on his back.
Giuliani stumbled a step or two forward but did not fall, he said. He did not require medical attention, police said.
An employee, Daniel Gill, 39, was charged with second-degree assault, police said. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney. NBC News has reached out to Gill's family for comment.
Giuliani said he believes the suspect should be fired from, adding, “Darn right, I think he should be prosecuted."
“This guy should be imprisoned to say to other people, '[It's] over, doesn’t happen,'" he said. "I believe you let Mr. Gill go, a lot more of these crazy pro-choice people are going to start attacking people."
A spokesperson for ShopRite said Monday that Gill has been suspended pending termination.
“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," the statement said. "We have zero tolerance for aggression toward anyone.”
Giuliani said the suspect yelled "dirty curse words" at him and accused him of being a "lady killer," touching upon the Supreme Court ruling Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, a decision that eliminates the broadly supported constitutional right to abortion.
"People attack people, in my case, because I'm pro-life but respectful of the position of other people. I'm not protesting other people. I respect the fact that there’s a division of opinion in this country," he said.
Giuliani said he still feels pain in his shoulder and plans to see a doctor.
“It was painful all night. It was hard to sleep. But I'm telling you, it was a very, very heavy shot," he said.
"I'm in good shape for a 78-year-old. He could’ve easily ... knocked me to the ground and killed me by my head getting hit," Giuliani continued.
He said he will continue to campaign in public despite the incident.
“We don’t do vigilante justice. I don't care if we're on the right, if we're on the left, if we're talking about Jan. 6 or yesterday. ... Let's not participate in that. Let's be peaceful," Giuliani said before he took a political turn and urged listeners to vote New York leaders out of power.
In a statement, Andrew Giuliani said: “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."
In May, Giuliani, a lawyer and former federal prosecutor who challenged the results of the 2020 election, met with the congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot for nine hours.