Queens District Attorney Charges Queens Man Who Tried To Run Over ‘Black Lives Matter’ Protesters With Attempted Murder
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz on Thursday charged a Queens man for trying to mow people down at a small Black Lives Matter protest in Whitestone — deliberate attempts to cause harm that were captured on multiple videos.
“In a burst of anger and rage, this defendant allegedly sought to kill protesters who were peacefully assembled and exercising their right to free speech,” said Katz. “No one at any time should infringe upon another’s Constitutionally-protected freedoms and doing so with the intent to injure and maim is criminal. It is amazing that no one was injured in the melee.”
Police initially arrested 54-year-old Frank Cavalluzzi, a Flushing resident, charging him with multiple counts of reckless endangerment, menacing with a weapon, and criminal possession of a weapon. But Katz later upgraded the charges to include attempted murder.
“This defendant is alleged to have yelled out ‘I will kill you’ to the peaceful crowd. He is accused of brandishing a multi-bladed glove and then chasing after individuals on foot and then continuing the pursuit in a 2-ton vehicle,” said Katz. “The defendant is in custody and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The incensed reactionary turned himself in, according to police, who said Cavalluzzi could have caused “serious injury or death” when he “accelerated into a crowd at a high rate of speed.”
Video captured by multiple witnesses shows Cavalluzzi jump out of his SUV with blades attached to his arms and run down the sidewalk, where a handful of young people were peacefully protesting at the intersection of Cross Island Parkway at Clintonville Street.
“This is how anti-protestors are handling this situation. THIS MAN HAD 4 KNIVES TIED UP ON HIS ARM AND WAS TRYING TO STAB THIS KIDS, AND THEN HE GOT UP ON HIS CAR AND GOT ON THE SIDEWALK AND TRIED TO RUN OVER THIS PEOPLE, PEOPLE WHO ARE LESS THAN 21 YEARS OLD!” said witness Arianna Agudo who posted the video to social media under the username Aria Tsukino.
there was a small BLM protest in Whitestone, Queens today
this guy pulled his car over, chased the protesters with some sort of sharp weapon he wrapped around his arm, then got back in his car, turned it around again and drove up on the sidewalk to run them over pic.twitter.com/fG2u0tjYQk
— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) June 3, 2020
Cavalluzzi then jumped back in his car, made a sharp U-turn, and drove up on the sidewalk, hitting the gas as the protestors fled in terror, as the video shows.
Agudo told the Queens Eagle that the violent altercation started when the man began arguing with the protestors about police violence and racism, and then accused one of them of throwing something at his car.
“The kids [were] just calmly protesting by just placing signs and posters, all of the sudden the guy started insulting them and the kids just started talking back defending their beliefs,” Agudo told the Eagle.
Cavalluzzi — behind the wheel of an SUV whose plate has racked up eight violations since 2018, including two for speeding in a school zone — then drove off screaming at protestors, “I’ll kill you, I’ll fucking kill you.”
@NYPDnews_ @NYPD111Pct @NYPD109Pct @LiuNewYork @CMPeterKoo @PaulVallone This video shows someone in Whitestone driving onto a sidewalk and trying to run people down. License number appears to be NY HZX9045. Looking forward to news of his arrest. https://t.co/4OAu6ueWY3.
— Ben Turner (@bgabriel28) June 3, 2020
In the same neighborhood, at what looks like the exact same intersection just one night before, another white man was also caught on video ripping down Black Lives Matter signs and calling the neighborhood a “white town,” the Post reported.
President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Whitestone in 2016 with 52 percent of the vote, one of only five neighborhoods in the president’s hometown borough that he won.
Tuesday night’s incident is reminiscent of the killing of 32-year-old Heather Heyer by neo-Nazi James Alex Fields, 21, who drove his car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, fatally striking Heyer.
Immediate attempts to contact Cavalluzzi were unsuccessful, but former neighbors told the Daily News that the construction worker was “a human rage machine.
“He was out here with a machete, screaming he was going to kill the neighbors over the garage,” said one neighbor. “He was a walking disaster since the day he was born.”