FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A 78-year-old man who authorities believe was seen in a now-viral video punching a protester at Donald Trump’s Fayetteville rally Wednesday has been charged by authorities.
The video, shown below in a tweet by New York Daily News writer Shaun King, appears to show a Donald Trump supporter punching a protester as he’s being escorted out by security at the Trump rally held at the Crown Coliseum.
John McGraw, 78, of Linden, has been charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct for his involvement in the incident.
At the end of the video, the protester, identified as Rakeem Jones, is seen being tackled to the ground and arrested by security.
Jones was the first of nearly 30 protesters kicked out of the Trump rally. Jones said he and a diverse group of friends went just to observe and had no plans to protest.
“I was more pissed off at the police more than anything,” Jones said. “He hit me, so I’m more pissed off with them but of course if somebody putting their hands on me, it could have went a whole different way.”
Cumberland County Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler said in a statement,
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. 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.”
After his arrest, McGraw was taken before a magistrate who set his bond at $2,500 secured.
His next court date is April 6.