The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office says reports suggesting their investigators are considering filing a charge of inciting a riot against Donald Trump are untrue. The department issued a press release seemingly contradicting its original statement; hours later, however, they finally and definitively said that Trump would face no charges.
WRAL first reported Monday that the department is reviewing whether to nail the Republican frontrunner after a protester was beaten by the candidate’s supporters during a rally last week. According to department spokesman Sgt. Sean Swain, the sheriff appeared on a local radio show earlier in the day and was asked whether the department had looked into applying the state’s riot laws against Trump—it was something “they had looked at,” he reportedly said.
However, Swain told The Daily Beast on the record, Trump’s actions ultimately did not fit the statute. “We would have made the charges by now” if that were the case, the spokesman added.
One hour later, the department issued a statement, under Swain's name, saying that "We are continuing to look at the totality of these circumstances... including the potential of whether there was conduct on the part of Mr. Trump or the Trump campaign which rose to the level of enciting a riot." The Daily Beast left a voicemail for Swain seeking clarification on the contradictory remarks. Several hours later, the department published a statement: "We will not be seeking a warrant or indictment against Mr. Trump or his campaign for these offenses."
Anti-Trump protester Rakeem Jones, 26, was sucker-punched while being escorted out of a rally Thursday; 78-year-old John Franklin McGraw was later charged for assault and battery. Questions about how Trump’s rhetoric encourages violence among his supporters have dogged his campaign as tensions continue to boil over between his fans and protesters.