The Cumberland County Sheriff of North Carolina has declined to charge Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for "inciting riot" in relation to an assault during a campaign rally.
On March 9, during a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, 78-year-old Trump supporter John McGraw sucker-punched a 26-year-old black protester, Rakeem Jones, as he was being escorted out of the stadium.
McGraw was unrepentant, telling Inside Edition, “the next time we see him, we might have to kill him.”
The Trump supporter was arrested the following day for misdemeanor assault.
Sean Swain, spokesman of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, disclosed that the department was investigating whether Trump had incited a riot through his rhetoric, The Huffington Post reports.
In North Carolina, the law states that encouraging a single act of violence or public disturbance was equivalent to inciting a riot.
Trump has previously told his supporters that he wanted to punch a protester in the face and that he would pay their legal fees if they assaulted dissenters in the crowd.
On March 11, a Trump event in Chicago was canceled by the campaign after the business mogul’s supporters and protesters began to clash inside of the venue, KTLA reports.
Earlier that day, violence broke out at Trump’s rally in St. Louis, Missouri, resulting in 32 arrests. Images of a black protester emerging with his face stained with blood circulated social media afterward.
Trump has refused to accept responsibility for the violence at his rallies, placing the blame on his protesters as well as the presidential campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
During an appearance on MSNBC, Trump told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd that he was considering paying McGraw’s legal fees.
“I’m going to take a look at it,” Trump said. “But I want to see what that man was doing.”
While Trump may shell out some cash for McGraw’s sucker-punch, the sheriff’s office has confirmed that Trump will not be charged with a crime.
“With respect to the potential of lodging charges of inciting a riot against Donald J. Trump, or the Trump Committee … the investigation with regard to Mr. Trump and his campaign has been concluded, and no charges are anticipated,” Swain said in a statement.