Donald Trump ‘may face charges for inciting a riot’ over violence at rally
Officials in North Carolina announce they are weighing charges against Republican front-runner over rally when supporter punched protester.
Donald Trump could face charges for inciting a riot over violence at a recent campaign event, officials in North Carolina announced on Monday.
A white Trump supporter sucker punched a black protester last Wednesday at a chaotic rally in the city of Fayetteville.
Local police have now announced that they are investigating Mr Trump’s conduct as they pursue charges against John McGraw, the man who threw the punch and has now been charged with assault.
“We are continuing to look at the totality of these circumstances, including any additional charges against Mr McGraw, 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, and including the actions or inactions of our deputies,” the Cumberland County sheriff’s department said in a statement.
Mr McGraw, 78, has showed no remorse for striking Rakeem Jones, 26. Asked afterwards about his actions, he said Mr Jones might be a terrorist and that, “next time we might have to kill him”.
Mr Trump said on Sunday that he was considering paying Mr McGraw’s legal fees.
The Republican front-runner has refused to accept responsibility for acts of violence at his campaign events, including numerous altercations at an event in Chicago that was eventually cancelled for security reasons
He has instead hardened his position, threatening to press charges against protesters in order to “ruin their lives” and discourage other would-be demonstrators.
Mr Trump reiterated that position at an event in Florida on Monday.
“What do you do? Do you prosecute people for behaving like that?” he told the crowd in Tampa after protestors loudly booed him during his speech. “Ruin their record forever. I don’t know, we are trying to be nice.”
Mr Trump’s comments came as he was forced to stop speaking three times in a row as individual protestors scattered around the room took turns to jeer him.
Mr Trump told his secret service to escort them to the “nearest exit”.
“Look at this one,” he said. “She’ll never make an actress. You know people think they can come on television and become famous.”
Mr Trump has cancelled events in cities where he could encounter significant opposition. He seemed surprised by the dissenters, saying he thought Tampa “loved” him.