EAST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey political leader was caught on camera throwing punches at a 74-year-old legally blind man, and on Wednesday night, both parties were sharing their story.
As CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported, surveillance cameras captured the confrontation at a polling site for the East Orange primary election on June 2.
Leroy Jones, the head of the Essex County Democratic Committee, is seen in the video throwing several punches at Bill Graves, a poll worker who is legally blind.
“First of all, I couldn’t see it coming, because right here, I can’t see nothing on this eye – absolutely, positively nothing,” Graves said.
Graves said Jones stormed into a polling room on June 2. He was angry and wanted to talk and they started talking in the hallway, but the situation turned violent fast.
“I’m sitting here and I hear, ‘I’m going to kick Bill Graves’ blankity blank, blank, blank,’” Graves said.
Graves claimed he did not know what led to the incident, saying, “If you can answer that, we wouldn’t be sitting here.”
But Jones had an explanation.
“This man threatened my wife,” Jones said. “This man assaulted my wife. This man charged at my wife.”
The politician said Graves got aggressive with his wife while she was checking credentials at the poll site, so she called her husband over to protect her. Jones said his intention was to have a civil conversation with Graves until the 74-year-old supposedly punched him.
“It’s a response that any husband or father, you know, would be expected to do,” Jones said.
East Orange police have seen the video, and Jones is now charged with simple assault.
The case will now be in the hands of the judicial system.