A Donald Trump supporter was caught on video sucker-punching a protester at a rally in North Carolina on Wednesday night, and footage of the assault began emerging on YouTube and social media on Thursday morning, the Washington Post is reporting.
Rakeem Jones, who is African American, says he was at the North Carolina rally Wednesday night, protesting Trump, accompanied by a “diverse” group of friends that included a white woman, a Muslim, and a gay man. Jones says that when Trump began speaking, his female friend began shouting.
“She shouted, but at the same time, they were shouting too. Everyone was shouting, too. … No one in our group attempted to get physical.”
Donald Trump supporter punches black man at rally (black man gets escorted out by police) https://t.co/ZVgxqKyj0T— The Independent (@Independent) March 10, 2016
Jones said Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies began escorting him and his companions out of the rally. As he was being escorted out, a Trump supporter sucker punched him in the back of his head, when he wasn’t looking.
It bears noting that the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department denies having roughed up any protesters at the Trump rally. Both Cumberland County and the Fayetteville Police Department deny having detained Jones.
Video of the assault was captured from multiple angles. In one of the videos, which you can see below, a man who appears to be white, wearing a cowboy hat, and a pony tail, seemingly assaults Jones, who appears to be giving the crowd the middle finger. Warning: This video contains violent content that may be disturbing to some viewers. The assault begins at :06.
Some in the crowd can be heard gasping in horror, while the majority of the crowd erupts in cheers and applause. Meanwhile, sheriff’s deputies pinned Jones to the ground and handcuffed him, seemingly ignoring the Trump supporter who punched him.
“Boom, he caught me. 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.”
The man who recorded the video, Ronnie C. Rouse, was one of Jones’ companions at the Trump rally. He claims that as soon as Trump began his speech, a Trump supporter in the crowd singled out his group.
“You need to get the f— out of there!”
A man who punched a protester at a Donald Trump rally faces charges of assault and battery https://t.co/XdtcxllZXF— Newsweek (@Newsweek) March 10, 2016
Rouse also claims that he heard someone in the crowd shouting “Go home n*****s!” as they were being escorted out of the Fayetteville rally.
“This isn’t Biloxi. This isn’t Montgomery. This is Fayetteville…. it’s a well-cultured area. I wanted to take my 11-year-old child, to give him a touch of what’s happening political-wise. I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve never been more embarrassed to be from here in my life. It’s just appalling.”
In other videos shot by other members of the crowd, it appears that Jones and his companions weren’t the only protesters at the rally roughed up by the crowd and the cops.
In fact, violence at Trump rallies has been so commonplace that Slate has begun keeping a running tally of such incidents.
- On Tuesday, in Florida, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski “forcibly” grabbed a female Breitbart reporter and took her to the ground after she asked a question.
- In Louisville, as a black woman was being escorted out of a Trump rally on March 1, members of the crowd surrounded her and shoved her.
- On December 14, in Las Vegas, Trump supporters were heard yelling “Seig Heil!” and “Light the motherf****r on fire!” at a black protester as she was being led away by security.
Donald Trump, for his part, has said little in response to the violent incidents at his rallies. In fact, at a November rally in Birmingham, Alabama, Trump suggested that one protester, who was black, deserved to be roughed up.
Rakeem Jones, the man who was sucker punched at the Donald Trump North Carolina rally, was released by police and was not charged with any crimes.
[Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]