Trump supporter punches protester in face at rally

A North Carolina man has been charged with assault after a protester was punched in the face at a Wednesday rally for Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report There are lots of ways for Clinton to lose Poll: Trump has narrow lead over Clinton in NC MORE.

When Rakeem Jones was being removed from the rally in Fayetteville, N.C., he was punched by a Trump supporter and then pushed to the ground by law enforcement officers, The Washington Post reported.

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"Boom, he caught me,” Jones told the Post in a telephone interview.

“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 went to the rally with four friends — including a white woman, a Muslim and a gay man — as a "social experiment."

“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.” 

“My eye still hurts. It’s just shocking. 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,” Jones said.

A man has been arrested in connection with assaulting a protestor during the rally, an official from the Cumberland County Sheriff's office (CCSO) confirmed Thursday. Fayetteville's WRAL identified him as John McGraw, 78, of Linden.
 
CCSO Public Information Officer Sgt. Sean Swain said the video only showed one perspective, according to Fox News.

“I couldn’t see if officers took him to the ground, or if he fell to the ground. We haven’t talked to the officers at the top of the steps,” Swain told FoxNews on Thursday
 
“As I looked up, people would miss a step and they’d fall. Until we investigate it, we can’t say our officers took him down to the ground. Now, we did pick him off the ground and escort him out.”
 
He said there is an internal investigation into the incident and police are looking into the assault on Jones.

“As people watch an eight-second video and form their conclusions about what goes on, our mission that night — we have 14,000 people at the Crown — was to keep everybody safe,” Swain said. 
 
“Our instruction was to separate people and get them out the door as quickly as possible before it escalates.”
 
During the rally Wednesday, there were several interruptions by protesters. Trump called the protesters "professional troublemakers."
 
At least two protesters were reportedly arrested during the rally for resisting arrest and trespassing.
 
— Updated at 2:08 p.m.

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