The Donald Trump supporter who threatened a protester and punched him in the face at a rally for the then-presidential candidate in March apologized to his victim in court Wednesday, according to the Washington Post.
A video showing 79-year-old John Franklin McGraw, who is white, punching 27-year-old Rakeem Jones, who is black, at a Donald Trump rally in Fayetteville, N.C., during the presidential campaign this year went viral. In the video, McGraw speculated as to whether or not Jones was part of a “terrorist organization” and asked whether “next time, we might have to kill him.”
According to the Post, McGraw pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct, and an additional misdemeanor charge of communicating threats was dismissed.
McGraw’s attorney, James C. MacRae, said that McGraw’s actions were not motivated by race.
Both men were in Cumberland County (N.C.) District Court on Wednesday, where a judge gave McGraw a 30-day suspended sentence and 12 months of unsupervised probation, according to Time magazine. Additionally, McGraw will pay a $250 fine and $180 in court costs.
“I’m extremely sorry this happened,” McGraw told Jones. “I hate it worse than anything in the world.”
The Post reports that McGraw shook hands with Jones and the pair hugged as the courtroom erupted in applause.
Because, of course, black people are always expected to accept the apologies of those who antagonize, attack and oppress them. Had the situation been reversed, what would the sentencing have looked like? Would McGraw have accepted Jones’ apology?
As for Jones, he, too, maintains that race was not a concern for him in the incident.
"As far as race, not one time throughout this whole six months have I mentioned his race. I got hit by a man, period,” Jones said. “As far as race, I don’t know. It’s not my concern. I got hit by a man.”