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Clash at Trump rally ends in probation, handshake

Posted December 14, 2016

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— Nine months after a protester was punched at a Donald Trump rally in Fayetteville, the men on both sides of the fist shook hands in court on Wednesday.

John Franklin McGraw, 79, of Linden, was charged with assault and battery, disorderly conduct and communicating threats after sucker-punching Rakeem Jones as he was being escorted out of Crown Coliseum by Cumberland County deputies for disrupting the March 9 rally.

McGraw, a former Golden Gloves boxer nicknamed "Quick Draw," pleaded no contest to the assault and disorderly conduct charges on Wednesday and was given a suspended 30-day jail sentence and a year on unsupervised probation. The communicating threats charge was dropped.

"You know what you did, and I know what I did. I'm not going to say you were wrong or I'm wrong," McGraw told Jones in the courtroom. "I hate it worse than anything in the world. If I met you in the street and the same thing occurred, I would have said, 'Go on home. One of us will get hurt.' That's what I would have said. But we are caught up in a political mess today, and you and me, we got to heal our country."

The two men then shook hands and hugged, as others in the courtroom applauded.

"I just felt good being able to shake his hand and being able to, you know, being able to actually face him," Jones said after the court hearing.

The altercation at the rally led Cumberland County authorities to briefly consider charging Trump with inciting a riot, and they later demoted three deputies and suspended two others who saw the assault but took no action.


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  • Jacob Young Dec 14, 5:42 p.m.
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    Good points!

    Sometimes I don't think people even read the stories before they rush to comment.

  • Jason Merrill Dec 14, 1:52 p.m.
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    You might try a little reading comprehension....the article clearly states he received a suspended 30 day jail sentence and 1 year of unsupervised probation. That means if he does anything wrong over the next 365 days he will go to jail for 30 days. Those are pretty standard punishments for a first time misdemeanour assault conviction. As someone else stated to you already, just because he wasn't fined into poverty and jailed for six months does not mean he was not punished....with your wanting a pound of flesh for a sucker punch I am curious to your views on the death penalty just for comparison. For the record I am in favour of harsh punishments that fit the crime, and to me this punishment fits the crime. I also do not think Mr. McGraw accepted responsibility for his actions, but he did indeed get punished.

  • Michael Lloyd Dec 14, 12:25 p.m.
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    His new moniker is now Sucker Punch McGraw.....and no, he did not man up and take responsibility for his actions.

  • Mike Pittman Dec 14, 12:22 p.m.
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    Every single one of you that claims this was a light punishment needs to spend a few weeks in your local court rooms. This is standard practice, all day, every day, no matter WHAT you look like.

  • Raleigh Rose Dec 14, 12:07 p.m.
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    My thoughts exactly! McGraw didn't seem to understand you can't just punch people that have different political views than you do. He seems like he is either not understanding or maybe just doesn't care or he's a violent person. Interesting.

  • Pete Muller Dec 14, 11:56 a.m.
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    Am I the only one who is missing any expression of responsibility in Mr. McCraw's statement? He seems to imply that the political climate, not himself, is to blame for his action.

  • William Patterson Dec 14, 11:43 a.m.
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    Dmitry Suemeov...i also noticed that a white police officer who shot a black man eight times in the back ,planted evidence and lied about the encounter also received a harsh punishment of absolutely nothing ...get my drift? if you consider this mans thirty days of nothing punishment then we are in for a long unpleasant ride in this country..he should have been fined a couple grand and have been made to compensate his victim for the pain and suffering he endured during and after the assault ...please remember that it was the innocent victim that was tackled and treated like the criminal after this attack....

  • Glenda Hightower Dec 14, 11:38 a.m.
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    Indeed, the punishment was light but it was punishment. The most worrying part to me was the total lack of action and/or incorrect action on the part of the officers. Very glad they were punished. As far as the 79 year old Trumpster, let's see how he reacts when Ryan and the republican led congress gut his children/grandchildren's Social Security and Medicare. That's first up on the docket in the House. I would guess he hates all that "Socialism," although bet he lives off "his" Social Security and uses "his" Medicare.

  • William Patterson Dec 14, 11:37 a.m.
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    Dmitry Suemeov....perhaps he should have been made to write on the blackboard "i will not cram my elbow in any ones eye when they are not looking" a couple dozen times ...it would be about the same as the non-punishment he received ....perhaps if he had blinded the fellow he might have actually received some real punishment ...what he did get was a pathetic joke of a sentence...i will bet he thinks twice about doing any such thing ever again after that grueling 30 days of unsupervised probation !

  • Anita Smith Dec 14, 11:17 a.m.
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    It was a light punishment, but he was punished. I am glad the officers were reprimanded as well. It is wrong to see someone committing a crime and you turn your head.