A Black protester being escorted out of a Donald Trump campaign rally on Wednesday in Fayetteville, N.C., was sucker-punched and shoved by a White Trump supporter, according to several videos across social media.
Usually race wouldn’t be a highlighted factor, but under the circumstances we feel it’s worth mentioning.
via NY Times:
The protester, identified by The Washington Post as Rakeem Jones, 26, was being walked by sheriff’s officers up an aisle at the Crown Coliseum, amid loud boos from the crowd, when a white man in a cowboy hat stepped toward Mr. Jones, punched him in the face and shoved him off-balance.
Mr. Jones stumbled, then could be seen on the floor surrounded by sheriff’s deputies. In some of the videos, at least two deputies who were following Mr. Jones up the arena steps could be seen walking past the man who had just punched Mr. Jones.
But on Thursday, WRAL, the local NBC television affiliate, reported that a 78-year-old man, John McGraw of Linden, N.C., had been charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct. The station cited the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. Messages left with a spokesman for the sheriff’s office were not immediately returned.
In a brief interview with “Inside Edition” after the incident, Mr. McGraw said he liked “knocking the hell out of that big mouth.”
“Yes, he deserved it,” Mr. McGraw added, saying that protester was not acting like an American. “The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.”
It was not the first violent incident at a Trump rally, nor the first with racial overtones. Another African-American protester, a female student at the University of Louisville, was pushed and jostled at a rally in Louisville this month and called “leftist scum” and other racial slurs.
Hope Hicks, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, called such incidents unfortunate but said the campaign had “no control” over its supporters’ behavior. She did note that the campaign plays a safety announcement before each event, instructing the crowd not to touch or harm protesters.
“We obviously discourage any kind of physical contact or engagement with protesters,” she said.
Later in the Fayetteville rally on Wednesday, when another in a series of demonstrators was being led out, Mr. Trump himself lamented what he called “the good old days” when “this doesn’t happen.”
“They used to treat them very, very rough, and when they protested once, they would not do it again so easily,” said Mr. Trump, who last month lamented that once upon a time, someone who acted up would be carried out “on a stretcher.”
Watch the horrifying video below.