1 South Carolina trooper faces 20 years in prison after shooting man during traffic stop (VIDEO)
Five days after being fired from the South Carolina Highway Patrol
for shooting an unarmed man several times during a traffic stop, former
cop Sean Groubert was arrested in the city of Columbia on Wednesday and
charged with a felony.
Groubert, 31, now faces two decades in prison if he’s found
guilty of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature; he
was released from custody late Wednesday on $75,000 bond, but not
before the public was provided with dash-cam footage from the
Sept. 4 shooting that sent Levar Jones to an area hospital.
The three-minute-long video recording — first played at
Wednesday’s bond hearing and then published online by www.thestate.com/2014/09/24/3702695_sc-trooper-charged-with-;amp;rh=1 newspaper — shows Groubert trailing
a pickup truck earlier this month in his cruiser for a few
seconds before he initiates a traffic stop over a supposed seat
belt violation and pulls up behind the vehicle at a local gas
Jones, the driver, is shown exiting the vehicle near a gas pump
and being asked by Groubert for his license, Jones reaches into
his back pocket briefly and then turns back towards the cab of
the pickup where he says he was looking for his ID.
Groubert fired four shots at Jones as the man attempted to
produce his identification as requested, and one of the bullets
struck the man’s hip.
"What did I do, sir?" Jones is heard asking repeatedly.
"I don't know what happened," Jones says in the video.
"I just grabbed my license."
"Sir, why was I shot? All I did was reach for my license. I'm
coming from work."
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety www.scdps.gov/comm/nr2014/091914.html on Sept. 19 that “Groubert’s actions
rose to such an extent that his employment with us must be
terminated.” Up until then, Groubert’s rank with the state
troopers was that of lance corporal.
“While Mr. Groubert was within the law to stop Mr. Jones for
a safety belt violation, the force administered in this case was
unwarranted, inconsistent with how our troopers are trained and
clearly in violation of Department policies,” SCDPS Director
Leroy Smith said in a statement then. Neither charges nor the
release of the video were announced until Wednesday this week,
however — 20 days after the shooting.
According to WIS news, Jones has only released one www.wistv.com/story/26551474/questions-concerns-arise-as-tro publically since being shot.
“I know that the community has questions and people are
interested in what and why this happened to me. I think God
everyday that I am here with a story to tell and hope my
situation can make a chance. My recovery is coming [along] well,
and hope this situation can make a change, not just here at home
in South Carolina, but coast-to-coast,” Jones told the
network earlier this month.
This month’s incident out of Columbia is only among the latest in
a series of events in which a white police officer has opened
fire at an unarmed black suspects, and luckily fell short of
ending in total tragedy, unlike other recent ordeals. The August
9 fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson,
Missouri by a white police officer continues to fuel discussions
concerning race relations in the US and the relationship between
law enforcement officers and minorities, among other issues, and
is currently the subject of a rt.com/usa/184962-ferguson-investigation-us-police/ being undertaken by the
Department of Justice.
According to WIS, Groubert is due back in court on October 24.