Man arrested, charged with punching protester at Trump event

A man was arrested Thursday morning in connection with punching a protester in the face during a North Carolina rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE.

John Franklin McGraw was charged with assaulting a protester and disorderly conduct for his actions during the Wednesday night rally, according to a press release from the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.


Rakeem Jones, the protester, was being taken out of the event when McGraw punched him in the face. The sheriff's office said in its release that deputies who were escorting Jones out of the venue were looking down "to secure their steps so as not to fall."

"While the deputies eyes were cast in the direction of the steps, McGraw punched the victim, striking him about the head and face," the news release said.

"The deputies who did not see the assault continued up the steps with the victim, who was ultimately escorted from the Coliseum."

After videos of the incident surfaced, an investigation was conducted to find the man who had punched Jones.

An internal investigation was also launched to review the incident and "the policies and procedures related to it."

“No one should be subjected to such a cowardly, unprovoked act as that committed by McGraw. 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. 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,” Sheriff Earl Butler said in a statement.


McGraw's next court date is April 6.