Five deputies with the Cumberland County, North Carolina, sheriff’s office were disciplined for failing to take action when an attendee at a rally for Donald Trump allegedly punched a black protester last week, the sheriff’s office announced on Wednesday.
Three of the deputies were demoted in rank and suspended without pay for five days, and two other deputies were suspended without pay for three days, according to Raleigh television station WRAL. All five deputies who witnessed the punch could face up to a year of probation.
“The actions of the deputies and their failures to act in situations such as that which occurred during the Trump rally at the Crown Coliseum have never been and will not ever be tolerated under the policies of this office,” Cumberland County Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler said in a Wednesday statement on Facebook.
“We regret that any of the circumstances at the Trump rally occurred, and we regret that we have had to investigate all of these matters,” Butler continued. “Yet, it is our duty and responsibility to do justice, and to carefully examine not only the actions of others, but our own actions to ensure that the law and our policies are justly and fairly enforced based in principle and without other influences.”
John McGraw, 78, was arrested and charged with assault and battery and disorderly last week for allegedly punching a black protester at a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Video appears to show McGraw sucker-punching Rakeem Jones as he was led out of the rally by security.
Jones told WRAL that officers pushed him to the ground, but let McGraw stay at the rally.
“I thought I was being arrested, to be honest,” Jones said. “I saw, later on, that [McGraw] went back to his seat so I am trying to figure out why was he able to go back to his seat.”
The sheriff’s office arrested McGraw the day following the rally, according to WRAL.
WRAL reported earlier this week that the sheriff’s office had considered charging Trump for inciting a riot, but the sheriff’s office said that they will not file charges against Trump in connection to the alleged assault.
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