NEW YORK – (QUEENS DA) – Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that Frank Cavalluzzi, 55, has been indicted by a Queens County grand jury and arraigned in Supreme Court on attempted murder, attempted assault and other charges for allegedly attacking peaceful demonstrators in Whitestone, Queens in June 2020. Videos of the peaceful demonstration that turned into a panicked spree for safety quickly went viral on the internet.
Horrifying for #BlackLivesMatters protesters in Whitestone, #Queens. Man tried to run them over on Tuesday, it’s caught on video. 54-yr-old Frank Cavalluzzi arrested. He had blades on his arm. Charged with Reckless Endangerment, Menacing, Weapon Possession. Video from @siburpunk pic.twitter.com/gIaL29ZIbw
— Dean Meminger (@DeanMeminger) June 4, 2020
District Attorney Katz said, “The defendant in this case became enraged when he spotted Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrating in the neighborhood. The moments that followed were sheer terror for the victims. As alleged, the defendant donned a glove made of knives – something resembling a horror movie prop – and chased the peaceful protesters on foot. Then with people running for their lives, he allegedly stepped up the attack by getting back in his SUV and tried to run the victims over with the nearly two-ton vehicle.”
Cavalluzzi, of 150th Street in Flushing, Queens, was arraigned this morning on a 39-count indictment before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gene Lopez. The defendant is charged with nine counts of attempted murder in the second degree, nine counts of attempted assault in the first and second degree, one count of reckless endangerment in the first degree, nine counts of menacing in the second degree, one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and reckless driving. Justice Lopez set Cavalluzzi’s return date for May 5, 2021. The defendant faces up to 25 years in prison for each victim if convicted.
According to the charges, said District Attorney Katz, at approximately 3:45 p.m. at the intersection of the Cross Island Parkway service road and Clintonville Street on June 2, 2020, a group of roughly a dozen peaceful demonstrators held up signs and posters calling for justice in the killing of George Floyd. Cavalluzzi was one of the many drivers that passed by the demonstrators. The defendant began to yell at the protesters and suddenly pulled over and got out of his SUV. According to the charges, the defendant yelled in sum and substance to the demonstrators “You are in the wrong neighborhood” and “I will kill you.”
The defendant was wearing a device attached to his wrist with 4 serrated-edged blades protruding from a glove when he allegedly started to chase after a young man in a threatening manner and shouted at the victim in anger. He then re-entered his vehicle, made a quick U-turn and allegedly drove his SUV onto the sidewalk where the protesters were still standing. The defendant then drove down the length of the sidewalk as the protesters ran into the street and climbed fences in order to avoid being hit by the defendant’s vehicle. Cavalluzzi allegedly revved the engine and even maneuvered between a fence and a street light pole trying to get the victims who were running away in fear.
The investigation was conducted by Detective Justin Hubbard of the New York City Police Department’s 109th Precinct Detective Squad.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Timothy Shortt, of the District Attorney’s Career Criminal Major Crimes Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Shawn Clark, Bureau Chief, and Michael Whitney, Deputy Bureau Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Daniel A. Saunders.
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Author: T. Grant Benson
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