UPDATE, 2:03 p.m. — John McGraw, the 78-year-old man who allegedly punched the protester, has been charged with assault, according to MSNBC.
During a Donald Trump presidential campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Wednesday night, a group of protesters was being escorted out by security when a member of the audience allegedly stood up and punched one of the protesters in the face.
The full video below shows an African-American male being led out of the rally as the audience boos. He then turns to the audience and appears to give an explicit gesture.
Suddenly, the video appears to show him get punched in the face by a white, pony-tailed man in a cowboy hat. The crowed begins to cheer as the black protester is handcuffed.
Rakeem Jones, the man who was hit, spoke with the Washington Post Thursday morning.
“Boom, he caught me,” Jones told Post. “After I get it, before I could even gain my thoughts, I’m on the ground getting escorted out. Now I’m waking up this morning looking at the news and seeing me getting hit again.”
Jones said he and four friends — a reportedly “diverse” group that included a white woman, a Muslim and a gay man — had gone to the rally as a “social experiment.” He said the woman with them started shouting once Trump’s speech began.
“She shouted, but at the same time, they were shouting too,” Jones, a 26-year-old inventory associate, said. “Everyone was shouting, too. … No one in our group attempted to get physical.”
Jones blamed the Cumberland County Sheriff's officers escorting him from the rally for failing to protect him — and then detaining him instead of the man who attacked him.
“It’s happening at all these rallies now, and they’re letting it ride,” Jones said. “The police jumped on me like I was the one swinging.”
“My eye still hurts. It’s just shocking," he added. "The shock of it all is starting to set in. It’s like this dude really hit me and they let him get away with it. I was basically in police custody and got hit.”
A video posted by Ronnie C Rouse (@theronniec910) on
Jones said he and his friends were not arrested.
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