ASHEVILLE, NC (Citizen-Times) -- The Buncombe County District Attorney's office on Friday dismissed a misdemeanor assault charge against a South Carolina man accused of striking a 69-year-old woman outside a Donald Trump campaign rally in September.
A trial in the case against Richard L. Campbell, 73 at the time of the encounter, had been delayed several times in Buncombe County District Court.
District Attorney Todd Williams said prosecutors made the decision to dismiss after speaking with downtown resident Shirley Teter, who said she was punched in the face while outside the rally at the U.S. Cellular Center.
He declined to discuss reasons for the dismissal in detail, referring a reporter to a notice filed by Rodney Hasty, an assistant district attorney.
It reads, "Through exercise of prosecutorial discretion, and after consultation with victim and review of the case, the undersigned enters a dismissal of this charge."
Neither Campbell nor his attorney could be reached Friday.
An encounter between Campbell and Teter was part of a wild scene outside the Cellular Center after Trump had spoken to about 7,000 people in the center's arena. There were numerous anti-Trump protesters outside, forcing many people leaving the rally to walk out single file. Some protesters shouted at attendees as they left, and there were reports of angry confrontations.
Teter has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and was carrying an oxygen tank. She said afterward that she had been telling people, "You better learn to speak Russian."
What happened between Teter and Campbell was disputed. Teter said a man had turned and punched her in the jaw, knocking her to the ground, and some witnesses said the same. Other witnesses said Teter touched the man, but she said she did not.
Teter could not be reached Friday.
An attorney representing Campbell in a civil case said he has poor vision and was being led out of the rally by his wife. He only turned to brush off Teter after she touched his back, that attorney said.
Charges against a Flat Rock man who video appeared to show making threatening gestures and slapping and grabbing at anti-Trump protesters inside the arena have yet to be resolved, Williams said.
Charges against three other people stemming from incidents outside the rally were later dismissed.