Man accused of assault at Fayetteville Trump rally in court

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- A 78-year-old Linden man who was charged after video of him sucker-punching another man at Donald Trump's Fayetteville rally went viral, appeared in court Wednesday.

John Franklin McGraw was charged last month with assault and battery, disorderly conduct and communicating threats. His case has now been continued to July.

RELATED: Man faces charges after punching protester

The incident happened during one of the 17 interruptions at the Trump campaign event in the Crown Coliseum on March 9th.

Rakeem Jones was part of a group escorted out by deputies when they began protesting during Trump's speech.

As Jones walked up the stairs, a man with a ponytail and wearing a hat is clearly seen from several camera angles punching Jones in the face.

EMBED More News Videos

The man who punched the protestor is punched from behind.

The deputies below Jones appear to be looking down when it happened, but another camera angle appears to show a deputy above looking directly at Jones and the man as he's punched.

EMBED More News Videos

An angle from below

Another protester who was with Jones also filmed the incident from his perspective. That video shows both men being escorted out of the building.

EMBED More News Videos

Video shot by another protestor

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said the assault victim was being escorted out of Crown Coliseum after disrupting the rally, and deputies had their eyes on the stairs when the assault happened.

However, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office later disciplined the deputies after it determined their response to the attack was unacceptable after the videos went viral.

RELATED: Five deputies punished

Five of the 60-plus officers at the Crown Coliseum have been punished.

Jones told ABC11 last month that he never thought one of the worst moments of his life would be available for everyone to see.

RELATED: Protester punched in face at Trump rally

Video of the scuffle was widely viewed and prompted scrutiny over violence at Trump's campaign rallies.

Jones' attorneys said they will bring a civil suit against McGraw - and possibly the Sheriff's Office.

"The entire venue should have been safer," Allen Rogers, Jones' attorney said. "And Mr. Jones is now the target of a lot of hate."

The Sheriff's Office did not want to comment on the potential lawsuit.

Meanwhile, McGraw is out on bond.

Report a Typo
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.