Army Sergeant Captured Pushing and Shoving South Carolina Black Man Walking In the ‘Wrong Neighborhood’ Found Guilty of Assault, Given Option to Avoid Jail Time

A Fork Jackson soldier who was seen shoving a Black man walking in a South Carolina neighborhood in a viral video that circulated in April has been found guilty of a single charge of third-degree assault and battery.

Sgt. Jonathan Pentland, a 42-year-old white Fort Jackson drill sergeant, had been suspended of his Army instructor duties following the incident. A Richland County, South Carolina, court ordered Pentland on Monday, Aug. 23, to pay a $1,087 fine or spend 30 days in jail for the misdemeanor charge.

Pentland said in court that he hadn’t intended to hurt anyone and that the man he pushed was acting strangely. “At no time was I trying to hurt him,” Pentland said, The Post and Courier reported. “I had no idea what his intent was because he was actually really strange, really weird. He was unstable. At that point, I didn’t know what he was capable of.”

The white man seen accosting a young Black man in a viral video, demanding that he leave his own South Carolina neighborhood, has been identified as a U.S. Army non-commissioned officer and is facing criminal charges. Photo: Sherill Johnson/ Facebook

Footage of the April encounter between Pentland and the 22-year-old man sparked national outrage and local protests, prompting the soldier and his family to relocate out of the home for safety.

A video of Pentland confronting the man as he walked in Columbia’s Summit neighborhood was posted to social media by Sherill Johnson — who was not the person recording the incident — on April 12. On Facebook, Johnson said that prior to the encounter she did not know the woman who recorded the video, but that woman recorded what was happening because she “saw the young man in distress and knew he didn’t do anything wrong.”

As Deandre tried to walk by, Pentland shouted at him and shoved him.

“Walk away! You walk away!” Pentland shouted. “You either walk away or I’m gonna carry your a– out of here,” Pentland said.

Deandre replied, telling the man not to touch him. He said he lived in the neighborhood but didn’t answer Pentland’s questions about exactly where.

“Imma do something to you,” Pentland said later. “You’re in the wrong neighborhood motherf-cker, get out!”

Johnson was also out walking and approached, asking the Black man what his name was before he appeared to walk in her direction as the video ended.

Pentland’s attorney is looking to challenge the court’s decision. “We are of course disappointed with the judge’s decision and are looking into further pursuing legal remedies to challenge the decision,” Benjamin Stitely said in a statement. He added that “Mr. Pentland stands by his right to defend his family” from a threat and said there was a lack of investigation into what led up to the incident seen in the video.

While the video of the encounter was three minutes long, Stitely claimed 20 minutes passed between when the interaction between Pentland and the Black man first started and when the filming began.

A witness testified that the Black man had begun acting strangely toward her daughter just before the events on-camera took place, but when she asked him to leave, he kept approaching her. The woman said she knocked on Pentland’s door and asked him to intervene.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department said deputies previously responded twice to incidents involving the Black man in the neighborhood. One involved him touching a woman without consent, and another in which he picked up a baby without permission.

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