(UPDATE: Republican front-runner Donald Trump will not face charges of inciting a riot, the investigating sheriff’s office announced in a news release Monday night.
After reviewing evidence from a rally in Fayetteville, N.C., the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office concluded it “does not meet the requisites of the law” to “support a conviction” of inciting a riot following the event, at which an anti-Trump protester was sucker-punched by a Trump supporter as he was led out.
“Accordingly, we will not be seeking a warrant or indictment against Mr. Trump or his campaign for these offenses,” the statement said. “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.”)
Officials in North Carolina may charge Republican front-runner Donald Trump with inciting a riot.
John McGraw, 78, was arrested and charged with assault on March 11 after punching a protester at a Donald Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office investigators, however, are now eying possible charges against Trump, WRAL-5 reported Monday.
Trump’s rallies have been a magnet for Black Lives Matters supporters and illegal immigration activists for months. Activists typically scream at the Republican’s supporters until they are taken away by authorities. Mobs of activists in Chicago even shut down a Trump rally in Chicago last Friday by sparking security fears.
“Trump represents everything America is not and everything Chicago is not. We came in here and we wanted to shut this down. Because this is a great city and we don’t want to let that person in here,” student Kamran Siddiqui told Fox News last Friday.
“[The goal is] for Donald to take the stage and to completely interrupt him. The plan is to shut Donald Trump all the way down,” added activist Quo Vadis.
Trump has occasionally said after repeated interruptions that he wished protesters were dealt with more harshly, but he does not appear to have done that in North Carolina.
“The guards are being very gentle with him,” Trump said during a Las Vegas, Nevada, event Feb. 23. “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you that.” The billionaire said the individual was “throwing punches” prior to being escorted from South Point Arena.
“We’re not allowed to punch back any more,” Trump added, Politico reported.
It seems unlikely Trump could be charged with inciting a riot for remarks he made weeks before his rally in Fayetteville. Regardless, Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler, a Democrat, is exploring all of his options.
“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,” said the statement from Cumberland Sheriff’s Office attorney Ronnie Mitchell, the Washington Post reported.
McGraw, who punched protester Rakeem Jones, has an April 6 court date, CNN reported.
Secret Service agents were forced to slam one Trump protester to the ground on Saturday as he tried to rush the billionaire in Dayton, Ohio.
Thomas DiMassimo of Wright State University was arrested and charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct. The 22-year-old told police he “pre-planned” his actions with the goal of grabbing a microphone and calling Trump a racist.
Sheriff Earl R. “Moose” Butler can be reached here.