Hiram Monserrate's lawyer Joe Tacopina called his client's yanking his bleeding girlfriend down a staircase "reasonable force, not violence." He claimed that she was refusing to go to a hospital and was drunk, and the state senator needed to forcibly convince her to go. To explain why they did not go to Elmhurst Hospital, which was two blocks away, and instead drove to Long Island Jewish, twelve miles away, Tacopina said, "It's a better hospital."

It is unclear if this corresponds with neighbor's testimony as reported by the Daily News, which described Monserrate's girlfriend emitting a piercing scream, ringing a neighbor's doorbell three times and being dragged out of the building.

The neighbor, Carolyn Loudon, did not open the door, but reported that she heard "chaos, mad energy," and "verbal intercourse" coming from Monserrate's apartment.