Why Rudy Giuliani’s Arrest, Arraignment and Coming Trial Has Become A Full Circle Moment for Black Voters

Opinion: The former mayor of New York has a less than pleasant relationship with Black folks. Now what went around has apparently come back around.

A friend of mine—a New York transplant—texted a photo of Rudy Giuliani’s mugshot, taken and released following his arrest in Georgia on Wednesday, Aug. 23, to the group chat with the note, “This is the first time I’ve enjoyed seeing his face.”

For Black voters in New York City and subsequently throughout America, Giuliani, indeed, has one of the most unlikable faces; just listen for his name in the bars of any NYC rapper from the 1990s. As sad and embarrassing as the whole affair is for the country at large, it was delightful to see Fulton County’s District Attorney Fani Willis go to work on Giuliani, lumping him into her office’s indictment of former President Donald Trump and several of his cronies for allegedly attempting to subvert the 2020 presidential election.

He was scheduled for arraignment in Atlanta on Sept. 6 and waived his right to appear at the hearing when he pleaded not guilty on Sept. 1.

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The former New York City mayor was hit with 13 counts under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, including election tampering and conspiracy to commit forgery. The irony of falling victim to charges that he helped pioneer to target mobsters, is lost on almost no one.

Before the indictment, Giuliani’s most recent unsavory headlines involved allegations of sexual abuse and harassment. But his penchant for unbridled racism is legendary, well-documented and not exclusive to Black folks.

He earned loads of cultural and political cachet as “America’s Mayor” following his handling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But he cemented his dubious legacy among Black and Brown New Yorkers nine years earlier, on Sept. 16, 1992, when thousands of off-duty New York Police Department officers violently protested then-Mayor David Dinkins’ bill that would’ve eradicated a clear conflict of interest by removing actual police from a review board that provided oversight against police brutality.

The City Hall Riot, comprised of mostly white off-duty police officers, was a nakedly racist affair, even by early-1990s standards, targeting the city’s first Black mayor. The N-word was tossed around like a beach ball, and officers created appalling, racist signs targeting Dinkins, letting him know just how the majority of the NYPD felt about their Black boss.

Did Giuliani, who was running for mayor, denounce the behavior during a speech to the crowd and attempt to control the riot that day? Quite the contrary: He stoked the crowd of drunk, unruly cops, riding the anti-Dinkins (read: anti-Black) sentiment, which ultimately helped him defeat Dinkins in the 1993 mayoral election.

And from his eight years as mayor, Giuliani derived countless anecdotes of pro-police, anti-ethnic-minority behavior. Some were more egregious than others.

There was his blasé response to the NYPD shooting of unarmed 23-year-old Guinean student Amadou Diallo 41 times. There was his handling of the case of Patrick Dorismond, a 26-year-old Black security guard wrongfully shot and killed by an undercover NYPD officer. The city paid a $2.25 million settlement to his family, but the shooting officer was exonerated.

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Giuliani infuriated Black folks by unsealing Dorismond’s juvenile arrest record, insisting he did so to prove that he wasn’t an “altar boy” (which is actually incorrect). What he really wanted to prove was that his precious NYPD should be impervious to criticism when involved in questionable cases against people who aren’t model citizens from the womb.

He also became synonymous with “stop and frisk,” a highly contentious policy that Giuliani’s NYPD notoriously abused. To be a Black or Brown male in New York City in the late 1990s was to understand that you might just get tossed up against a wall by the cops. For no other reason than walking, driving, talking, eating, breathing while Black.

Any time the media posted a question about police violence, Giuliani was happy to hop his happy ass on a microphone to do a “whataboutism” for “Black-on-Black crime.” When then-New York Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed his concerns over excessive police force in 2014 following the choking death of Eric Garner, stating that he cautions his biracial son to be wary of the cops, Giuliani suggested DeBlasio’s concerns were nothing more than misplaced fearmongering.

Putting the cherry on top of his deplorable human campaign, Giuliani aligned himself with Donald Trump during his successful 2016 presidential campaign. When Giuliani wasn’t hopping on Fox News with the unmitigated gall to call the Black Lives Matter movement “inherently racist,” he was making headlines for possibly landing a spot in Trump’s cabinet that he never actually secured.

Essentially, Trump and Giuliani got sucked into each other’s vacuum of rot, and together they wound up on the wrong side of a mugshot camera.

Giuliani claims he has “scientific evidence” that the 2020 election was stolen, and that he just needs to release it to exonerate Trump and the 17 other people on the hook in Georgia. It’s like being on trial for murder and sitting on a video that proves the actual culprit–what’s stopping Giuliani from releasing this evidence, immediately, loudly, and publicly?

I doubt Giuliani, who turns 80 next year, will do a lick of real prison time even if he is convicted. But seeing him wind up a convicted felon–which would essentially undermine everything he’s accomplished in a nearly half-century legal and political career–would be just the schadenfreude we need going into the 2024 presidential election.

Of course, bonus points if we also get Trump up outta here.

Editor’s Note: The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of BET and its employees. is a non-partisan organization that does not endorse any political party or candidate.

Dustin J. Seibert is a native Detroiter living in Chicago. He loves his own mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day only so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him at

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