Perhaps we don’t need MMA fighting in New York after all. Not if the mayoral candidates and their supporters and/or detractors keep holding press conferences like this one.
A press conference was held this morning intended to highlight mayoral candidate, Christine Quinn’s role in the battle to keep St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan open. It was quickly overrun by people who felt that Quinn hadn’t done enough to prevent the hospital from closing. Various protesters started shouting (even though she was not present) that she “had blood on her hands”, while another, identified as George Capsis, called State Senator Tom Duane, who was there to support Quinn, “a vacuous idiot” while shaking his fist in his face.
And that’s when things really got ugly…
Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s press conference this morning devolved into violence, as State Senator Brad Hoylman was slapped in the face and another Quinn supporter was attacked during a heated showdown over hospital closings.
The campaign event was initially supposed to give former State Senator Tom Duane, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Mr. Hoylman the opportunity to rail against rival mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio for his alleged inaction regarding the controversial closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital. But a group of anti-Quinn protesters were the only ones to make real noise.
“Shame, shame, shame on you,” the group chanted as the press conference was set to begin, drowning out Ms. Quinn’s supporters.
That’s when Capsis made his mark.
The situation grew more intense as spokespeople for Ms. Quinn’s campaign attempted to get the man to leave. Instead, Mr. Capsis struck Mr. Hoylman in the face as he made his way out through the crowd.
After rejoining the protesters, Mr. Capsis hit another Quinn supporter in the face, prompting the supporter–an intern–to leave the scene in tears.
Hoylman says he was holding his toddler daughter when he was struck.
Capsis is the publisher of a lower Manhattan newspaper called the WestView News. Last year, he was charged with slapping a police officer.
For his troubles this time, Capsis was issued a violation for harassment.
He stated that his aggression was the result of the recent passing of his wife, whom he felt he could have visited more in her dying days if the hospital was still open.