Army Investigating Video of Soldier Harassing a Black Man Taking a Walk Through a South Carolina Neighborhood

Illustration for article titled Army Investigating Video of Soldier Harassing a Black Man Taking a Walk Through a South Carolina Neighborhood
Screenshot: Twitter (Other)

White people really think they’re the only ones allowed to just walk freely. Doesn’t matter where the neighborhood is, or who’s in it, white people always believe they belong wherever they’re at. Apparently, an officer in the U.S. Army didn’t think Black people were deserving of that same privilege when he decided to harass and threaten a Black man for just...walking.

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The Associated Press reports that the Army is investigating a viral video that apparently depicts Staff Sergeant Jonathan Pentland harassing a Black man walking through a South Carolina neighborhood. Video of the incident quickly went viral after it was posted on Facebook earlier this week. “You’re in the wrong neighborhood,” Pentland is heard saying to the man. “I ain’t playing with you. ... I’m about to show you what I can do.”

From AP:

Throughout the three-minute video, the man who appears to be Pentland continuously demands that the other man leave the neighborhood, getting in his face and, at one point, pushing the man, who almost falls to the ground.

“Let’s go, walk away,” he said. “I’m about to do something to you. You better start walking right now.”

At the end of the video, a woman that the man identifies as his wife can be heard telling the other man that he had picked a fight with “some random young lady” in the neighborhood, a claim the Black man then denies.

Johnson said authorities arrived at the scene and only gave the man appearing to be Pentland a citation for malicious injury to property for slapping the man’s phone out of his hand and cracking it.

Pentland has apparently worked as a drill sergeant at Fort Jackson since 2019, according to his social media accounts. Fort Jackson is responsible for training 50 percent of all soldiers who enter the Army each year. Fort Jackson Commanding Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., tweeted that Pentland’s behavior was “by no means condoned by any service member,” adding “We will get to the bottom of this ASAP.”

Beagle also went on to post on his official Facebook page that Army officials “have begun our own investigation and are working with the local authorities.” On Wednesday, officials from Fort Jackson tweeted that Pentland had been arrested and charged by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. The tweet also added that the Department of the Justice is looking at the case from a federal level.

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According to booking information from the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, Pentland has been charged with third-degree assault and battery, a misdemeanor in South Carolina.

Considering what happened after Ahmaud Arbery went into a neighborhood some white men thought he didn’t belong in, I’m just happy the man in the video made it out uninjured and alive. As for Pentland? Well, now that he’s facing charges, I think this young woman put it best.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.

DISCUSSION

Commanding Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., tweeted that Pentland’s behavior was “by no means condoned by any service member,”

I guarantee that’s not true. I’m sure there are lots of service members who are appalled, but there are definitely some who approve.