A Queens man, Frank Cavalluzzi, has been convicted on nine counts of attempted murder and other charges after menacing a group of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters with a bladed glove and driving his car at them. The conviction came after a two-week jury trial, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. Cavalluzzi, 57, of Flushing, is set to be sentenced in October and could face up to 25 years in prison for each attempted murder count.
During the June 2020 incident, Cavalluzzi encountered protesters in the Whitestone neighborhood of Queens. He stopped his vehicle, shouted profanities and racial slurs at the demonstrators, and then made a U-turn to chase them while brandishing the bladed glove. Prosecutors stated that he later threatened to kill the protesters before driving onto the sidewalk towards them. The demonstrators managed to scatter and avoid being hit.
Lorraine McShea, one of the individuals attacked by Cavalluzzi, described the episode as “extremely scary” and expressed relief at the verdict. Her brother, Donald McShea, who was also present at the protest, was shocked by the violent escalation. The bladed glove used by Cavalluzzi was described as “crazy” and unlike anything they had seen before.
Cavalluzzi’s defense attorney, Michael D. Horn, attributed his client’s behavior to mental illness and uneasiness over the state of New York City. However, the prosecution argued that the incident was a deliberate act of violence. The conviction of Cavalluzzi serves as a significant outcome for New York and the protection of the First Amendment, according to District Attorney Katz.
The incident occurred during a period of widespread protests following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020. The demonstrations, largely peaceful, prompted an increase in incidents involving drivers plowing into protesters across the United States.
The sentencing of Cavalluzzi in October will determine the length of his prison term.