Frank Cavalluzzi, 57, who faces up to 25 years in prison for each of the nine attempted murder counts on which he was convicted, learns his fate in October.
A man who threatened a group of nonviolent Black protestors with a bladed glove before driving his car into them has been found guilty of attempted murder.
Frank Cavalluzzi, 57, was found guilty following a two-week jury trial and now faces up to 25 years in prison on each of the nine attempted murder counts, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz shared in a statement. According to The New York Times, Cavalluzzi will learn his fate in October.
“A dangerous man is going to jail,” Katz said. “It’s a good day for New York and the First Amendment.”
Protests against systemic racism and police brutality erupted in New York and other American cities in late May 2020 after the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, a Black man.
Court records state that Cavalluzzi saw demonstrators holding placards supporting the Black Lives Matter movement at an intersection on June 2, 2020, one week after Floyd’s murder, as he drove his SUV through the Whitestone area of Queens.
Cavalluzzi reportedly parked his car across the street and started yelling profanities and racial slurs at the protesters. His remarks included, “You are in the wrong neighborhood,” according to court records.
Prosecutors said he made a U-turn and exited his SUV while wearing on his right arm a leather glove with four serrated blades, calling it a device that looked like it belonged in a horror film. They accused Cavalluzzi of swinging the bladed glove as he pursued some of the protesters.
“I will kill you,” he shouted, before returning to his car. At that time, Cavalluzzi steered onto the sidewalk and headed straight toward the protesters, who fled to escape getting struck.
It was an “extremely scary” incident, recalled Lorraine McShea, 22, one of the individuals Cavalluzzi attacked. She and her brother, Donald, 19, said they were satisfied with the verdict.
McShea, who attended the protests with both her brother and sister, acknowledged that some locals in Queens opposed the demonstrators. Still, she expressed surprise that the altercation with Cavalluzzi had turned so violent.
She recalled the worst part was not knowing if her siblings were “dead or alive” in the split second before she sprinted from Cavalluzzi’s approaching vehicle. It was Donald McShea’s first protest, and he described being “shocked” by how it played out.
The generally peaceful protests continued for weeks, and as they did, the number of motorists plowing into demonstrators increased.
Cavalluzzi’s attorney, Michael D. Horn, ascribed Cavalluzzi’s actions to mental illness and his client’s unease with the state of New York City.
“The world will see this case” as “about politics,” Horn said, The Times reported. “But I see it as a single man, with mental health challenges, struggling to understand the evolving city where he lives.”