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Man charged with assaulting protester during North Carolina Donald Trump rally

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John McGraw, 78, of Linden

John McGraw, 78, of Linden

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A 78-year-old North Carolina man who was caught on video punching another man at a Donald Trump rally in Fayetteville has been arrested.

WRAL reported that John McGraw of Linden has been charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct.

Several videos posted to social media show the suspect sucker punch a protester at the Trump rally in Fayetteville on Wednesday.

The videos were posted on Facebook and Instagram Thursday and show a man extend the middle finger to the audience while being led out of the rally by law enforcement.

Out of nowhere, the suspect punches the protester. As the protester stumbles away and is then handcuffed by deputies, the crowd cheers.

The man who was hit by the Trump supporter has been identified as Rakeem Jones, according to the Washington Post.

Jones told the Post the punch came out of nowhere.

“Boom, he caught me,” Jones told The Washington 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 said he and a “diverse” group of friends had attended the rally as a social experiment.

Jones said authorities failed to protect him by detaining him instead of the man who punched him.

“The police jumped on me like I was the one swinging.” He added: “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.”

Ronnie C. Rouse attended the rally with Jones and captured the incident on his Go-Pro. Rouse explained that as soon as the rally began, someone in the crowd singled out his group of friends.

Almost immediately after they were singled out, the group was surrounded by deputies and escorted out.

The Washington Post contacted the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, but they said they were not the ones who detained Jones. The Fayetteville Police Department also said their officers were not involved.

Jones said he and his friends were not arrested.