Quinn's campaign embargoes her schedule to try and keep those protesters from finding her at her campaign functions and appearances.
A rally to highlight Christine Quinn's role in the battle to keep St. Vincent's Hospital open turned violent Monday morning when an anti-Quinn protester slapped state Sen. Brad Hoylman and then a campaign volunteer.
Hoylman, who spoke in favor of mayoral candidate Quinn, was holding his toddler daughter, Sylvia, when George Capsis -- publisher of the weekly West Village newsletter Westview -- slapped him.
Capsis then turned to a Quinn volunteer -- who appeared to be college-aged -- and smacked him several times across the face.
The volunteer -- who did not want to be identified -- ran off in horror. He was later seen crying.
Capsis later said he was emotional because his wife died two days ago in a Bronx hospital. "I had to travel an hour and a half to see her," he said. "I have pent-up anger."
The disturbing scene unfolded after a chaotic Quinn press conference on the corner of West 12th Street and Seventh Avenue, directly across from the site of the now-shuttered Catholic hospital.
Quinn was not present.
Her supporters -- including former state Sen. Tom Duane -- rallied there to trumpet what they called her strong work to prevent the hospital closing.
But anti-Quinn protesters -- who allege she should have done more -- showed up to drown out the City Council leader's surrogates, chanting so loudly throughout that the speakers were mostly inaudible.
"No one has worked harder for health care," Duane said.
"That's not true!" shouted a man in a red "Anyone But Quinn" t-shirt.
Towards the end, the elderly Capsis -- shaking with anger -- got in Duane's face.
"Why do you keep talking?" Capsis growled. "Get out of here!"
Duane calmly said, "Take a deep breath."
Capsis glared at him.
When Hoylman tried to intervene, Capsis slapped him quickly. The volunteer told him to stop, and also got whacked.
Capsis later told reporters he slapped the volunteer because he was a "factual idiot."
Even before the slappings, the rally had devolved into nastiness.
In addition to shouting over the speakers, protesters hurled insults at them.
"Hey, Tom Duane! Have another drink!" one man shouted.
Duane is a recovering alcoholic who has openly discussed his struggle with the disease.
Physically assaulting political opponents is wrong and just leads to more chaos and dysfunction in the political system.
Same goes for calling a politician who is a recovering alcoholic a drunk and telling him to have another drink.
Nonetheless this episode today illuminates the kind of anger Quinn and her political supporters bring out in some of her critics and opponents.
That she has to embargo her campaign appearances because her campaign fears this sort of thing will happen when Quinn is present does not bode well for the success of her candidacy.