FAYETTEVILLE, NC (WBTV) - A 78-year-old man who was seen in a now-viral video punching a protester at Donald Trump's Fayetteville rally Wednesday has been charged by authorities.
According to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, Rakeem Jones was being escorted out of the Crown Coliseum when 78-year-old John McGraw edged his way to the end of the row.
Deputies, who were escorting Jones, were looking down at the steps when McGraw punched Jones in the head and face. The deputies reportedly did not see the assault and continued up the steps with Jones, who was ultimately escorted from the Coliseum.
The video, shown below in a tweet by New York Daily News writer Shaun King, shows McGraw punching Jones. At the end of the video, Jones is seen being tackled to the ground and arrested by security.
"No one should be subjected to such a cowardly, unprovoked act as that committed by McGraw. Regardless of political affiliation, speech, race, national origin, color, gender, bad reputation, prior acts, or political demonstration, no other citizen has the right to assault another person or to act in such a way as this defendant did," Cumberland County Sheriff Earl R. Butler said. "I hope that the courts will handle this matter with the appropriate severity for McGraw's severe and gross violation of this victim's rights."
McGraw, of Linden, has been charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct for his involvement in the incident. After his arrest, McGraw was taken before a magistrate and given a $2500 secured bond.
His next Court date is April 06, 2016
In addition, the Sheriff directed an internal investigation to review the entire incident and the policies and procedures related to it. The internal investigation is continuing, and because it involves a personnel matter, no further public comment on the internal investigation can be made under North Carolina law.