Trump Supporter Gets Violent at NC Rally

Donald Trump, the front-runner of the Republican Party, held a rally in Fayetteville, NC March 8 as a boost for his campaign. A home to many active duty military stationed at Fort Bragg, Trump is the first presidential candidate to come to the Fayetteville region.

Speaking in the Crown Coliseum, an event arena that holds roughly 10,000 people, Trump had the place almost completely full. Trump was met with roaring cheers and signs waving high into the air.

He began his speech with acknowledgements to his hopeful wall, taking care of veterans and slams to his rival opponents, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, the latter of which recently dropped from the race after the NC primary.

Each topic Trump brought up took the crowd to an insane cheer, showing their support for the candidate.

Riling the crowd up, he would trigger the audience with excitement by shouting “I’m going to build a wall!” He followed up by shouting, “Who’s going to pay for it?” in which the audience would respond, “MEXICO!”

Trump even spoke on his desires to “knock the hell out of ISIS,” by suggesting that since terrorists do not abide by laws in warfare, America should not either.

The crowd showed avid agreement through cheers, as some supporters even displayed their “Bomb the hell out of ISIS” buttons that were being sold at venues outside of the rally.

It is estimated that roughly 17 protestors were pulled from the crowd, some facing conflict with supporters or law enforcement and some peacefully escorted out.

The most vocal protestors were met with signs being ripped, things being dumped on them from the upper levels, banners being forced into their faces, and the collective crowd pointing and booing in their direction.

“In one instance, a protestor was being escorted out by the police and a supporter threw his full drink onto the man for no apparent reason besides the fact that he was a protestor,” said Howard Smith, a non-affiliated spectator.

Slurs such as “commies!” were shouted from the crowd in reaction to protestors. Trump, who was interrupted roughly every five minutes, urged his protestors and security to “get them [the protestors] out of here!”

One protestor, Rakeem Jones, 26, garnered much attention from the violence within the rally. Although many protestors faced harassment and aggression, Jones suffered a forceful blow to the face by a supporter of Trump.

John McGraw, 78, the aggressor, was caught on multiple cameras from various angles committing the act, according to an article in The Washington Post by Justin Wm. Moyer, Jenny Starrs and Sarah Larimer. Law enforcement did not carry McGraw out with Jones despite his actions.

The Cumberland County Sheriff Department’s public information officer Sgt. Sean Swain stated that officers handling the situation did not see the altercation take place as their eyes were set to the ground, guiding Jones up the stairs.

Inside Edition interviewed McGraw asking him about his time at the rally. When asked about his punch to Jones, McGraw said, “next time, we might have to kill him.”

McGraw was later charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct, according to Fox News’ Cody Derespina.

Since the incident, the five officers involved in the dispute were held accountable for their actions, which were deemed not substantial to the standards of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department.

According to Sheriff Earl Butler’s recent post to Facebook, three deputies have been demoted in their rank and suspended for five days without pay for “unsatisfactory performance and failing to discharge the duties and policies of the Office of Sheriff.”

The remaining two deputies were suspended for three days without pay for the same reasons.

After Trump ended his speech and thanked the people, the crowd dispersed and many found themselves drawn to the vocal and heated protests outside. Mediated by law enforcement and news cameras, Trump supporters took one side of the street and the protestors took to the opposite side.

The dual protest did not lead to violence, however defensive chants reigned on both sides. Trump supporters shouted “USA! USA! USA!” and “Build a wall!” as they were met with their counterparts’ chanting: “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!”

These controversial events did not seem to interrupt Trump’s voter turnout within the area, however. He won NC in the Republican primary.

Trump polled in at 47.4% in Cumberland County, taking the majority vote, according to The New York Times primary results for NC.

As a local to the Fayetteville area, Smith noted that he is not surprised by Trump’s win.

“With the majority of voters within the county being non-college educated Caucasian conservatives, combined with a county that historically tends to be more conservative leaning, a Trump win is exactly what I expected,” said Smith.

While Trump continues to be criticized in his encouragement and acceptance of hostility and violence, Cumberland County has made it clear they will not allow these actions to go without punishment.

Although some were hopeful in charging Trump for inciting riot-like behavior during his rally, officials decided to go against this notion. They have, however, released a statement that is intolerable of any violent acts by any means of discrimination.

“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,” said Butler in a statement released via Facebook. “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.”