On Monday, Raleigh television station WRAL reported that investigators with the Cumberland County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Office are considering filing a charge of inciting a riot against GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Last week, Trump visited Concord and Fayetteville in rallies that attracted thousands of attendees. During the rally in Fayetteville, a protester was assaulted as he was escorted from Crown Coliseum by police. A Linden man was later charged in the incident, and Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office investigators said Monday that they are considering filing a charge of inciting a riot against Trump.
North Carolina law defines a riot as “a public disturbance involving an assemblage of three or more persons which by disorderly and violent conduct, or the imminent threat of disorderly and violent conduct, results in injury or damage to persons or property or creates a clear and present danger of injury or damage to persons or property.”
The charge is a misdemeanor unless property damages exceed $1,500. At that point, it becomes a felony.
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Ronnie Mitchell, an attorney for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, said that investigators reviewing video of the rally took note of Trump’s comments as several protesters were removed from the event.
“People are responsible for what they do and what they say. Part of our investigation has been looking into those issues,” he said. “We are concerned about a number of things in that speech. We are concerned about activity associated with that speech. That does not mean that we have decided to charge anyone.”
The man who threw the punch, 78-year-old John Franklin McGraw, was arrested for throwing the punch, WRAL said.
Here’s a video report of the incident:
It’s not the first time Trump has been accused of inciting violence, but it could well be the first time a major candidate is formally charged by law enforcement for encouraging supporters to engage in violent acts.
Update: The sheriff’s office has now said it won’t charge Trump with inciting a riot. More on that here.
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