As a result of an attack on his person last week in upstate New York, Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin has requested the presence of the NYPD at a rally he is holding in Queens on Sunday evening.
In order to ensure the safety of the departing Long Island congressman at his 7 p.m. appearance in Francis Lewis Park, a small number of police officers has been sent to do so, according to a law enforcement official.
According to another source, the local precinct’s uniformed cops will be joined by undercover operators from the NYPD’s Intelligence Division.
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As Zeldin spoke Thursday night in upstate Fairport, near Rochester, disturbed Army veteran David Jakubonis allegedly swung a plastic knuckle weapon fashioned like a cat’s head at the politician’s throat. No police officers were there.
A group of onlookers, including Zeldin’s running mate and a former NYPD officer named Alison Esposito, tackled and disarmed Jakubonis and held him for several minutes until the arrival of Monroe County sheriff’s deputies.
After being arraigned in Perinton Town Court on charges of attempted second-degree assault, Jakubonis, 43, was released without posting bail in accordance with a contentious new bail-reform law passed in 2019.
His bail hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in federal court in Rochester, New York after he was arrested by the FBI on Saturday on charges of attacking a member of Congress with a deadly weapon.
Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, who became acting governor after former Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, is being challenged by Zeldin.