Authorities in North Carolina will not be filing charges against Donald Trump or his campaign following a violent altercation at one of his rallies last week.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Authorities in North Carolina will not be filing charges against Donald Trump or his campaign following a violent altercation at one of his rallies last week.
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office were investigating the rally last Wednesday in Fayetteville, during which a man was hit in the face while being escorted out.
“We are continuing to look at the totality of these circumstances … including the potential of whether there was conduct on the part of Mr. Trump or the Trump campaign which rose to the level of inciting a riot,” the statement said.
On Monday evening, the sheriff’s office released a statement saying that “the evidence does not meet the requisites of the law as established under the relevant North Carolina statute and case law to support a conviction of the crime of inciting a riot.”
“Accordingly, we will not be seeking a warrant or indictment against Mr. Trump or his campaign for these offenses,” the statement read.
Ronnie Mitchell, an attorney for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, told “48 Hours” Crimesider that investigators initially interviewed people who attended the rally, and also deputies who worked the event, to determine “whether or not there was any action on the part of Mr. Trump or his campaign to incite a riot.”
“Basically, what it means is that you’ve engaged in some conduct that is likely, frankly imminently, to create a riot or disorderly conduct,” Mitchell told “48 Hours.”
Authorities have already charged John Franklin McGraw with assault, disorderly conduct and communicating threats after he was caught on video hitting an African-American man being led out by deputies at the event in Fayetteville.
McGraw told an interviewer the next time he confronted a protester, “We might have to kill him.”
Trump told “Face the Nation” on Sunday he doesn’t condone violence and that he is going to review the incident that occurred in North Carolina.
“Well, I’m going to review it. I understand–and I don’t condone violence and I don’t condone what happened to him and what he did because he got carried away and it’s very unfortunate,” Trump said. “But this kid was walking out, and I understand he had a certain finger up in the air as he’s walking out, and this man became very angry.”
At one point during the rally, Trump described a previous event in which a protester traded punches with his supporters. Trump told the audience: “They started punching back. It was a beautiful thing.”
Trump has blamed the recent violence at his rallies on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters.
“If somebody did that at a Bernie rally … if they ever went to Bernie’s rallies and did the same thing, I want to tell you, you would be so angry with me, nobody talks about it but you would be so against me … it’s a whole different standers when it comes to a Republican conservative versus a liberal,” Trump told CBS.
Mitchell told “48 Hours” Crimesider that he spoke with a Trump campaign representative about the timing of the investigation, a day before Tuesday’s primaries.
“We had a good conversation. Obviously they’re concerned not about the investigation, but the timing of the disclosure of the investigation,” Mitchell said. “But it’s been going on since Thursday.”
In a statement, Trump’s campaign said, “the arena was rented for a private event, paid for by the campaign and these people attended with the intent to cause trouble. They were only there to agitate and anger the crowd. It is the protesters and agitators who are in violation, not Mr. Trump or the campaign.”