GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s rallies are getting rowdy, with confrontations between protesters and supporters, journalists being grabbed, and a protester even charging at Trump while on stage, now North Carolina police were considering laying all the blame on the candidate. Cumberland County sheriff’s office was thinking about pressing criminal charges against Trump because a “protester was assaulted” a rally in Fayetteville last week according to news reports on Monday afternoon, March 14, 2016. The sheriff’s office ultimately decided against pressing charges and made the announcement in a press release Monday evening.
According to the press release, the office determined that the evidence “does not meet the requisites of the law” to “support a conviction.” A protester was “sucker-punched” while police removed him from the rally. The rest of the statement read, “Accordingly, we will not be seeking a warrant or indictment against Mr. Trump or his campaign for these offenses. While other aspects of our investigation are continuing, the investigation with regard to Mr. Trump and his campaign has been concluded, and no charges are anticipated.”
Earlier in the afternoon, the sheriff’s office lawyer Ronnie Mitchell released a statement about possibly charging Trump. The statement read, “We are continuing to look at the totality of these circumstances … including the potential of whether there was conduct on the part of Mr. Trump or the Trump campaign which rose to the level of inciting a riot.” Even Mitchell countered the statement after it was released saying, “It doesn’t appear that we have sufficient evidence to warrant charging him at this time.” Mitchell provides advice to Sheriff, Earl “Moose” Butler (D).
Mitchell explained the charge and what evidence would be required to obtain a conviction for the violation, “‘Incitement to riot’ requires conduct or words which would cause at least three persons who are assembled to engage in disorderly conduct, as that’s defined under North Carolina law. We have not been able to unearth evidence that [any instances] were incited or motivated by Mr. Trump.”
At the rally held on March 9, the “anti-Trump” protester was “sucker-punched when police removed him at the start of the rally. His was not the only incident; there were 100 at the rally, where there were more protesters in attendance. The punch was caught on video. The protester, Rakeem Jones was a longhaired African American man, who was punched by a 78-white man, John Franklin McGraw in a cowboy hat after the protester put up his middle finger to McGraw’s face.
Although the crowd booed, the protester McGraw took it too personally and for punching Jones he is facing assault and disorderly conduct charges. Another charge “communicating threats” was added after McGraw posted a video saying he “enjoyed” punching “that loudmouth .?.?. who was “not acting like an American. McGraw also “threatened next time” “to kill him.”
Despite the increasing violence at Trump rally, which the frontrunner is blaming on Bernie Sanders supporters, Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign called the Fayetteville rally family-friendly. Hicks said, “There was a great feeling of warmth, well-being and even love in the arena.”
Hicks put the responsibility entirely on the protesters for any trouble at the rally. The spokeswoman explained, “In some cases, they used foul language, screamed vulgarities and made obscene gestures, annoying the very well-behaved audience. The people that stood were loud, rude and abrasive.”
Hicks even justified the protester being punched, “On one occasion, while the police were escorting a young man out of the arena, he seemed to lift his hand and make an obscene gesture. We are told a 78-year-old man took great exception to this. It is the protesters and agitators who are in violation, not Mr. Trump or the campaign.
Trump suggested on Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” that he might pay McGraw’s legal bills. Trump said, “I’m going to look at it. I’m going to see, you know, what was behind this, because it was a strange event. But from what I heard, there was a lot of taunting and a certain finger was placed in the air. Not nice.”
Trump often tells supporters to “knock the crap” “out of disruptive protesters,” and previously said at a rally, “I’d like to punch him in the face.” This time Trump did not incite the crowd, instead he said, “Hello! Uh oh! Ohh! Uh oh! So early. So early. All right, get ’em out! Thank you. We’re gonna have such fun… We’re gonna have such fun tonight. Get ’em out. Thank you. Do we love our police? Our police are great.” After a later disruption by a protester, Trump was more “forceful” in his words, saying, “Get out of here. Go home to Mom!… Nasty. Nasty. Why are they allowed to do things that we’re not allowed to do? Can you explain that to me? Really a disgrace.”
According to North Carolina law a riot is defined as “a public disturbance involving an assemblage of three or more persons which by disorderly and violent conduct, or the imminent threat of disorderly and violent conduct, results in injury or damage to persons or property or creates a clear and present danger of injury or damage to persons or property. The charge “inciting a riot” is described as “willfully incites or urges another to engage in a riot, so that as a result of such inciting or urging a riot occurs or a clear and present danger of a riot is created.” The charge is a misdemeanor.