The now-common violent outbreaks at Donald Trump rallies escalated further at an event in Fayetteville, North Carolina on Wednesday. Footage that surfaced Thursday morning showed a black man getting punched in the face by a white rally attendee and then wrestled to the ground by police officers.
The protesters were being led out of the rally by men who were wearing sheriff’s uniforms when Rakeem Jones flipped his middle fingers to the crowd. In the video, he’s punched in the face by a white man in a cowboy hat. The crowd cheers, and Jones is pushed to the ground by the officers and handcuffed.
Jones, who says he and a group of friends went to the rally as a “social experiment,” told the Washington Post that while he was handcuffed and detained, the man who attacked him was allowed to stay. “It’s happening at all these rallies now and they’re letting it ride,” he said. “The police jumped on me like I was the one swinging.”
An Instagram video taken by one of Jones’ friends shows the officer tackle and handcuff him:
Trump himself has failed to condemn his more violent supporters. Instead, he’s invited them on stage to be publicly honored for beating up a high schooler, argued a Black Lives Matter protester deserved to be roughed up, and told a crowd that he wished he could punch a protester at a Nevada rally in the face.
“You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher,” he said at the time.
Reuters reported that the attacker in the video has been charged:
BREAKING: Man charged with assaulting a protester at Donald Trump rally in North Carolina: local TV— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) March 10, 2016
Gossip site TMZ identified the man as 78-year-old John McGraw. According to TMZ, he's facing charges for assault and disorderly conduct.
McGraw told Inside Edition he punched Jones because "number one, we don’t know if he’s ISIS. We don’t know who he is, but we know he’s not acting like an American, cussing me... If he wants it laid out, I laid it out."
He added: “Yes, he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him. We don’t know who he is. He might be with a terrorist organization.”