North Carolina Authorities May Charge Trump With ‘Inciting A Riot’ Following His Violent Rally

Donald Trump has watched from the stage as his rabid supporters have brutally assaulted the people who come out to protest him. Oftentimes, he even urges them on — whipping his followers into a violent frenzy with unfounded accusations that the protesters are working for ISIS or were sent by Bernie Sanders and “deserve it.”

After this week saw nearly every Trump rally end in assaults and racial and ethnic slurs, the question turned from “Will someone be killed at a Trump rally?” to “When?”

Trump has done absolutely nothing to tone down the rhetoric. In fact, he’s stepped it up. Lately, he’s begun using his supporters as a personal goon squad. When he accused Bernie Sanders fans of forcing him to cancel his rally in Chicago, he threatened to “send them” out to harass Sanders supporters. The supporters themselves seem downright eager to oblige this call to violence. The only thing missing are literal brown shirts.

This again came to a head, this time in North Carolina, where Trump rallies in Concord and Fayetteville. In one disturbing, but not uncommon, incident, a black man was attacked as the crowd roared. A cowboy hat-wearing Trump superfan beamed as he told reporters that he was proud for sucker punching an African American protester as he was being escorted out. He was eventually charged with assault, but not before vowing to “kill” the man if he ever saw him again.

Trump doubled-down on his claim that these protesters were “bad people” and possibly ISIS terrorists. He then encouraged his followers to be more violent when faced with protesters, again saying they were “bad” and deserved it. His supporters in the media also parroted this call to violence.

But North Carolina authorities are now coming out strongly against Trump attempting to turn their state into a breeding ground for fascism. Following the violent rally, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office announced that it would be looking into charging Donald Trump — the current Republican front-runner for President of the United States by a wide margin — with inciting a riot.

A look at North Carolina’s law against inciting a riot shows that Trump appears to check all the boxes. It’s a wonder he hasn’t been charged yet.

For the protesters who brave a Trump rally, the fact that the man on stage is using a microphone to actually call for the thousands of supporters in attendance to verbally or physically attack him or her, the “clear and present” danger is real. And this isn’t just a thought exercise. People have been repeatedly hurt trying to escape the events. One man was pushed down and kicked. Another was elbowed in the face. Even reporters have faced violence. A TIME photographer was choke-slammed by Trump’s Secret Service agent. A former Breitbart reporter was thrown to the ground by Trump’s campaign manager, leaving bruises on her arm from where he grabbed her. The list goes on…

When Trump comes to town, you can count on two things happening: The racists crawling out of the woodwork waving Trump flags and violence directed at the people who oppose Trump. That’s not a way to run a democracy. If authorities don’t begin to stand up to Trump’s calls for violence with criminal charges, the chances of a deadly incident happening are nearly total.

The authorities in North Carolina caution that they may not charge Trump, however. Unfortunately, “inciting a riot” is known in legal circles as being notoriously difficult to prove, given how vague its language is. Trump will no doubt respond with an army of lawyers to descend on North Carolina should he find himself charged, so it is clearly making the sheriff’s office gun shy. In a statement, they said they were looking into but won’t make an official decision until after they’ve run down a few more leads.

Featured image via WRAL