A former South Carolina state trooper will serve about five years in prison for shooting and injuring an unarmed black motorist during a 2014 traffic stop.
Sean Groubert shot and injured Levar Jones after pulling him over for not wearing his seat belt. Video footage from the dashcam was released to the public and showed Jones pulling into a gas station and having already gotten out of his vehicle when Groubert pulled up behind him.
As Groubert asked for his license, Jones turned back to his vehicle to comply, at which point Groubert immediately started shouting and firing several shots. As the shots went off, Jones was seen throwing his hands in the air and falling to the ground.
After the shooting, Jones could be heard asking, “What did I do, sir? Why did you shoot me?” Groubert cuffed Jones and left him on the ground until an ambulance arrived.
Jones was hit once in the hip and ultimately received a $285,000 settlement after the incident.
Groubert, 34, was fired from the state Highway Patrol and pleaded guilty last year to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
On Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Casey Manning sentenced Groubert to 12 years in prison but suspended the time to five years and then gave him credit for the 17 months that he had already served in jail after pleading guilty, meaning that Groubert will serve only about three years in total. He will only have to serve his full sentence if he violates probation after his eventual release.
According to Reuters, as Groubert sat in his sentencing hearing, he apologized to Jones, asking for forgiveness.
“I screwed up,” Groubert told Jones. “I pray that one day you’ll be able to come to peace with this and forgive me.”
“It took eight seconds,” Jones told Judge Manning concerning the shooting at the sentencing, where he asked for Groubert to receive the maximum sentence of 20 years.
“I was treated like an animal being put in a cage,” Jones added of his experience.
Read more at Raw Story.