A Sign of Things to Come?
by Ken Hare
Chicago Defender Reporter
This past Wednesday, at a Trump Rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, a five-member group of young people who referred to themselves as “diverse” in media reports found out the hard way – that diversity is not necessarily welcomed at Trump’s rallies.
The group that consisted of 2 Black men, Rakeem Jones, and Ronnie Rouse, 1 Muslim, 1 gay man, and a white woman said they were participating in a “social experiment” and wanted to see what a Trump rally was really like. Within minutes of the start of the rally, the white woman with them started shouting once Trump’s speech began. “She shouted, but at the same time, they were shouting too,” according to Rakeem Jones one of the Black men who was later attacked. “Everyone was shouting, too. … No one in our group attempted to get physical,” according to Jones in an interview with the Washington Post. At which point, Donald Trump said “…So early, so early. Alright, get em out. Thank you.” Several white men in uniforms labeled “Sheriff’s Office” proceeded to approach the group to take them out of the venue.
Video footage can be seen here: https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-quick-cuts/watch/how-a-man-got-punched-at-trump-rally-641737795922
The footage posted online shows Rakeem Jones and friends flanked by the officers attempting to leave the rally. Near the top of the stairs, a white man, later identified as John McGraw, age 78, lashed out and hits Jones in the eye as he passes by. None of the sheriff’s officers do anything about it as several of them are looking at the time. Instead, Jones, who is the victim falls on the floor, is manhandled, handcuffed and escorted out the venue.
The white perpetrator John McGraw remained for the duration of the Trump rally according to an interview conducted by Kate Snow on MSNBC, with the two young Black men. In a separate but related news segment, Kate Snow also interviewed Kerry Sanders, an MSNBC field correspondent in North Carolina who had spoken with the sheriff’s office inquiring as to why John McGraw wasn’t arrested on the spot for assaulting Rakeem Jones the night before.
Kerry Sanders stated that the sheriff’s office responded that McGraw had been arrested, charged with assault and disorderly conduct, his bond was set at $2,500. When Kate Snow asked about the penalty he might face, the correspondent said that the penalty would most likely be time served in jail or very little time in jail because it was a misdemeanor crime according to the local prosecutor.
However, during Snow’s interview with Rakeem Jones and Ronnie Rouse, she read a statement that John McGraw had given in an interview with Inside Edition in which he stated: “You bet I liked it. Knocking the hell out that big mouth… We don’t know if he’s ISIS. Yes, he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him. We don’t know who he is. He might be a terrorist.”
The Chicago Defender spoke with a former court official who wishes to remain anonymous to see if based on McGraw’s statement he could be charged with a hate crime instead of a misdemeanor. They stated: “Quite possibly, but it depends on the willingness of the local prosecutor and the public’s outcry.” Yet, were it not for this entire incident being captured on video it could possibly be another shining example of the double standard when it comes to the miscarriage of justice for African American men especially when the perpetrator is white.
Stay tuned there’s much more to come – there’s a Trump rally in our front yard today – at UIC Pavillion, Chicago.