Protests forced a white U.S. Army non-commissioned officer out of his home, after the officer was hit with charges following a viral video that showed him aggressively confronting a young Black man in a South Carolina neighborhood.
Jonathan Pentland, 42, was charged Wednesday, April 14, with assault and battery third degree, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. He and his family were removed from their home Wednesday night after peaceful protests turned violent; dozens of protesters had gathered outside the home and police responded to reported acts of vandalism.
Of the incident involving the young man, the sheriff describes it as “terrible; it’s was unnecessary,” Lott said. “The young man was a victim, the individual arrested was the aggressor.”
Footage of Pentland confronting a Black man walking in Columbia’s Summit neighborhood was posted to social media by Sherill Johnson on Monday, April 12, and shared thousands of times. On Facebook, Johnson identified the Black man in the video as Deandre. Johnson said she didn’t know Deandre or Shadae, the woman filming, prior to the encounter, but that Shadae recorded the ordeal because she “saw the young man in distress and knew he didn’t do anything wrong.”
In the video, Pentland shouts at Deandre, shoves him, and threatens to put his hands on him.
At the start of the three-minute-video, filmed April 12, Pentland and Deandre are standing on the sidewalk in the neighborhood.
Pentland and a woman he called his wife tell Deandre that the police are on their way and ask him what he is doing.
“Walking,” Deandre replied.
A loud and visibly angry Pentland then shoved Deandre as he attempted to walk past the soldier.
“Walk away! You walk away!” Pentland shouted. “You either walk away or I’m gonna carry your a– out of here,” Pentland said.
“You better not touch me,” Deandre said.
“Or what? What are you going to do?” Pentland asked.
“I didn’t do anything to you,” Deandre said.
“Imma do somthing to you,” Pentland responded. “You’re in the wrong neighborhood motherf-cker, get out!”
When Deandre told Pentland he lived there, he asked him several questions about where exactly he lived and what his address was.
“Maybe we should walk you home,” Pentland’s wife said.
Pentland continued to make threats against Deandre as he tried to walk away.
“I’m walking; you keep following me, sir,” Deandre said.
Johnson who was also out walking, approached and said “C’mon what’s your name? You don’t want no trouble,” and Deandre appeared to walk in her direction before the video ended.
According to Johnson, police did arrive at the scene and gave Pentland a citation for malicious injury to property for slapping Deandre’s phone out of his hand and cracking it. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office report showed that Pentland had slapped the man’s phone out of his hand and stomped on it.
Sheriff Lott said Deandre had been involved in other incidents in the neighborhood prior to the encounter, but that Pentland’s assault on him was not justified. He said the young man won’t face any charges.
Authorities also said Deandre has an underlying medical condition that may have impacted his behavior on the day of the encounter and that they are trying to make sure he receives necessary treatment. Officials said someone had asked Pentland to step in after Deandre allegedly approached them in a threatening manner.
Pentland has been stationed at Fort Jackson since 2019. Officials there are looking into the incident. Authorities with the Department of Justice are also investigating the matter, Fort Jackson base officials said on Twitter.
Pentland was detained in the Richland County jail at around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and issued a personal recognizance bond. About two dozen protesters showed up in the neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon, chanting and calling for accountability in front of Pentland’s home. They remained there for most of the day.