Cumberland County Sheriff Earl Butler announced on Facebook Wednesday that five deputies have been disciplined “following a professional standards investigation” after one of the rally’s attendees punched a protester in the face with police standing nearby.
According to WRAL, the sheriff’s office admitted that the deputies witnessed the assault but failed to take any action.
Three deputies were demoted in rank and suspended without pay for five days. Two others were suspended without pay for three days. All five were reprimanded and placed on a year-long probation for failing to discharge the duties and policies of the Office of the Sheriff.
The full statement is below:
We have disciplined five deputies following a professional standards investigation arising from the events at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville at the Donald Trump for president rally on Wednesday, March 9, 2016.
Three deputies were demoted in rank, and they were suspended for a period of five days each without pay for unsatisfactory performance and failing to discharge the duties and policies of the Office of Sheriff.
Two other deputies were suspended for a period of three days without pay for unsatisfactory performance and the failure to discharge their duties.
All five of the deputies have been reprimanded and placed in a probationary status for the next 12 months, and admonished not to fail to act and directed to comply with the requirements of Sheriff's Office policies concerning proper response to apparent criminal activity.
The actions of the deputies and their failures to act in situations such as that which occurred during the Trump rally at the Crown Coliseum have never been and will not ever be tolerated under the policies of this office.
In the past, these deputies have been vigilant, and have shown great bravery and fortitude, for example, when some of them encountered Andrew Michaelis, who was on a deadly shooting spree, killing his father-in-law and nephew and assaulting deputies with an assault rifle in Cumberland County on July 30, 2014.
I have taken into account the past bravery and exemplary conduct, including the life-saving and other actions of these deputies in assessing the discipline, and in imposing the sanctions.
We regret that any of the circumstances at the Trump rally occurred, and we regret that we have had to investigate all of these matters. Yet, it is our duty and responsibility to do justice, and to carefully examine not only the actions of others, but our own actions to ensure that the law and our policies are justly and fairly enforced based in principle and without other influences.