Five deputy sheriffs in the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office have been disciplined in connection with the assault of Rakeem Jones, a protester, at a Donald Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, earlier this month.
The deputies, who witnessed the assault and did not respond appropriately, faced disciplinary action for “unsatisfactory performance and failing to discharge the duties and policies of the office of the sheriff,” Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler said in a statement.
“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 never be tolerated under the policies of this office.” On Monday, the sheriff declined to charge Donald Trump with inciting a riot.
The sheriff’s office said that several of the disciplined deputies were involved with the confrontation of Andrew Michaelis, who went on a deadly shooting spree killing family members and assaulting deputies with an assault rifle in July 2014. Their actions in that situation factored into their punishment, Butler said.
“I have taken into account the past bravery and exemplary conduct, including the life-saving and other actions of these deputies in assessing the discipline, and in imposing the sanctions,” he said. “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.”
After the rally, the assailant, 78-year-old John McGraw, who is white, told Inside Edition that the protester, Jones, who is black, deserved it. “The next time we see him, we might have to kill him,” McGraw said. He has been charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct, as well as with communicating threats.