- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2016

A rally for GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Wednesday turned violent when a black protester being ejected from the event was sucker punched by a white attendee on his way out.

The protester, Rakeem Jones, said he was hit from out of nowhere while leaving a rally for the real estate mogul in Fayetteville, North Carolina, late Wednesday.

The altercation was filmed by several witnesses and has since been widely shared online.

In the video clips, Mr. Jones is seen being led out from the campaign event by individuals wearing “Sheriff’s Office” uniforms when he’s assaulted by a white man in the audience wearing a cowboy hat, black vest and pink shirt.

“Boom, he caught me,” Mr. Jones told The Washington Post.

The protester then starts to stumble, but he is quickly apprehended by law enforcement and thrown to the ground and handcuffed.

“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,” Mr. Jones told the newspaper.

“The police jumped on me like I was the one swinging,” he added. “My eye still hurts. It’s just shocking. The shock of it all is starting to set in. It’s like this dude really hit me, and they let him get away with it. I was basically in police custody and got hit.”

One of the individuals who filmed the altercation, Ronnie C. Rouse, told The Post that someone in the crowd shouted a racial epithet as the altercation unfolded.

“We’ve been watching all this stuff happen to everyone else,” he told the newspaper. “This isn’t Biloxi. This isn’t Montgomery. This is Fayetteville. … It’s a well-cultured area.”

“I wanted to take my 11-year-old child, to give him a touch of what’s happening political-wise. I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve never been more embarrassed to be from here in my life. It’s just appalling,” Mr. Rouse added.

Protests have been routine at Mr. Trump’s campaign events in the months since he declared his candidacy, and outbursts like the one seen Wednesday have not been rare either: Michelle Fields, a reporter for Breitbart, said Mr. Trump’s campaign manager grabbed her by the arm during a press event on Tuesday this week and nearly dragged her to the ground.

Officials with both the Fayetteville Police Department and Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office denied their officers had detained anyone at the rally when questioned by The Post.

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