A New Jersey Democratic official was caught on video punching a 75-year-old veteran who is blind in the face on June 2.
“I hear this rumbling, ‘Where the blank is Bill Graves? I’m gonna kick his butt!’” Army veteran Bill Graves told WABC. Graves told the New York ABC affiliate he was deliberately sought out by his attacker after working as a poll watcher last month in the East Orange, N.J., primary. The Garden State holds its primary on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of June.
You can see on the tape it was intentional. If I went to hit you and just hurt you, I would hit you here. If I’m trying to knock you out I’m going to hit you here. If I hit you up here, I’m hitting you in a vulnerable spot.
Graves was attacked by LeRoy Jones, chairman of the Essex County Democratic Committee. What makes the attack especially troubling is that Graves is completely blind in one eye, and legally blind in the other due to cataracts and glaucoma. “It’s not good, that’s all I can say. I’m smiling, but I’m not laughing,” Graves said.
Jones was interim chairman of the committee when the incident occurred. He was elected to a full term the following week, according to a press release on the committee’s website. “There is a time and season for everything, this is LeRoy Jones’s season to lead our county party,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver at the time of Jones’ election. Oliver is the former Speaker of the New Jersey State Assembly.
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Graves told WABC the fight with Jones began over political disagreements, as he backed a local candidate Jones did not support. Now, he says his vision is even worse. “Angry, disgusted, because why should I have to run back and forth to the doctor because someone decided to hit me,” Graves said.
Jones has been charged with disorderly conduct. EssexCountyPolitics reported his case has been moved from Essex County to Hudson County.
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