Multiple videos show a protester at a Donald Trump rally in North Carolina being sucker-punched by a Trump supporter.
The videos, which appeared on social media early Thursday and are shot from different perspectives, show an African American with long hair wearing a white T-shirt leaving the Trump rally as the audience boos. He is being led out of the rally by men in uniforms that read “Sheriff’s Office.” The man extends a middle finger to the audience on his way out.
Then, out of nowhere, the man is punched in the face by a pony-tailed man, who appears to be white, in a cowboy hat, black vest and pink shirt as the crowd begins to cheer. The protester stumbles away, and then is detained by a number of the men in uniforms, who handcuff him while he is on the ground.
“Chill, chill!” an onlooker says. “You don’t gotta grab him like that!”
Rakeem Jones, the man who was hit, said the punch came out of nowhere.
“Boom, he caught me,” Jones told The Washington Post in a telephone interview. “After I get it, before I could even gain my thoughts, I’m on the ground getting escorted out. Now I’m waking up this morning looking at the news and seeing me getting hit again.”
Jones said he and four friends — a “diverse” group that included a white woman, a Muslim, and a gay man, had gone to the rally as a “social experiment.” He said the woman with them started shouting once Trump’s speech began.
“She shouted, but at the same time, they were shouting too,” Jones, a 26-year-old inventory associate, said. “Everyone was shouting, too. … No one in our group attempted to get physical.”
Jones blamed the Cumberland County officers escorting him from the rally for failing to protect him — then detaining him instead of the man who attacked him.