MIAMI: A 78-year-old white man who punched a black protester in the face at a Donald Trump rally was charged with assault on Thursday, media reports said.
John McGraw was also charged with battery and disorderly conduct after the event Wednesday night in North Carolina, the Cumberland County sheriff’s office told the local TV station WRAL.
Video of the incident shows McGraw abruptly punching the young black man in the face as he was walking up a stairway with other protesters being escorted out by police.
McGraw was not arrested until Thursday morning, as video of the assault gained widespread attention. He was released after posting a $2,500 bond, CNN reported.
The Cumberland County sheriff’s office did not immediately return phone calls from AFP.
Rakeem Jones, the man who was punched, told The Washington Post that the sharp blow to the right side of his face caught him by surprise.
“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.
Jones, 26, said he went to the Trump rally as a “social experiment.”
A woman who was part of his group started to yell out against Trump when he began his speech, Jones said.
Trump’s rallies tend to draw large crowds, and some have been interrupted by protesters critical of the Republican frontrunner’s policy positions on immigration and other sensitive issues.
Critics say he is stirring hatred among angry American voters with his nasty comments against Muslims and Mexicans.
Trump usually asks his security people to eject protesters from his campaign events.