North Carolina Sheriff's Office Probes Whether Trump 'Incited Riot'

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., March 14 (Reuters) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office is reviewing whether Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump or his campaign incited a disturbance at a rally in the state last week, the law enforcement agency said on Monday.

North Carolina is one of five states holding Republican and Democratic nominating contests on Tuesday in the race to select candidates for November’s presidential election.

John McGraw, a 78-year-old white Trump supporter, was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge after he was seen on video punching a 26-year-old black protester in the face at the Trump rally in Fayetteville on Wednesday.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, based in Fayetteville, said it would examine Trump’s actions as part of its investigation into the incident.

“We are continuing to look at the totality of these circumstances, including any additional charges against Mr. McGraw, 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, and including the actions or inactions of our deputies,” the office said in a brief statement.

The office said it would provide no further comment at this time.

Sheriff’s spokesman Sean Swain said earlier in a phone interview that he did not think charges would be filed against Trump.

In North Carolina, “inciting to riot” is a legal charge that can apply to a public disturbance and does not necessarily involve a full-scale riot. The offense can be classified as a misdemeanor or a more serious felony.

During a trip on Monday to North Carolina, the billionaire businessman rejected suggestions that his language was to blame for recent clashes at his rallies. The 69-year-old New Yorker leads a field of four Republican candidates vying for the party’s presidential nomination. (Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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