Former South Carolina State Trooper —who shot an unarmed Black man— has pleaded guilty today in a South Carolina court.
Ex-Trooper Sean Groubert pleaded guilty to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature after the shooting of an unarmed Black man in September 2014.
The trooper’s dash-cam caught Groubert on tape as the officer wounded–but did not kill– 35-year-old Levar Edward Jones.
The video —and the case– reveals that Jones followed Groubert’s directions and grabbed his license from the car– after getting out— then unexpected gunfire ensued.
“For reasons that only Groubert can articulate at this point, he fired his service weapon multiple times while yelling repeatedly for Mr. Jones to ‘get out of the car,’” the Department of Public Safety said in a statement that month. “Mr. Jones was not armed and was struck during the incident.”
The trooper began to harass the man as Jones began to walk into a Circle K convenience store. The video shows there were no clear or obvious threats and the trooper fired on an unarmed man without probable cause.
The Washington Post reports that Jones was walking into the store in September 2014 when Groubert got out of his patrol car and demanded to see Jones’ driver’s license. Cam footage also shows that Jones was just following directions before being struck by bullets. He was treated and released from the hospital.
According to the AP, “Groubert faces up to 20 years in prison. He was led out of a courtroom in handcuffs after Circuit Judge Casey said he wanted time to think about Groubert’s punishment. The judge’s decision to send the 32-year-old Groubert to jail indicates he will serve some prison time.”
However, the former trooper has not been sentenced. This shooting happened during a string of brutal police killings of unarmed people that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. Jones lived to tell his side and Groubert’s initial arrest was prompt.
Source: The State Newspaper/ Youtube