Image from dashboard camera showing South Carolina Highway Patrol Officer Sean Groubert shooting at Levar Jones as Jones turns his back to get his license Sept. 4, 2014
YouTube screenshot
Image from dashboard camera showing South Carolina Highway Patrol Officer Sean Groubert shooting at Levar Jones as Jones turns his back to get his license Sept. 4, 2014
YouTube screenshot

Editor’s note: This story includes video footage that some may find disturbing.

Video has been released of a South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper approaching a man regarding a traffic violation and then shooting him, seemingly for no reason, The State reports.

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Officer Sean Groubert has been arrested and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in the inexplicable Sept. 4 incident. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Groubert, who was fired from the Highway Patrol last week, was booked at a detention center Wednesday, with bond set at $75,000, according to the news site.

Video footage from the officer’s dash cam, released to the public, shows that the man who was shot, Levar Jones, had pulled into a gas station and was outside his vehicle when the officer pulled up behind him.

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Groubert asks for his license, and when Jones turns back into his vehicle to comply, the officer immediately starts shouting and firing several shots. As the shots start flying, Jones can be seen throwing his hands in the air and falling to the ground, even as Groubert yells, “Get on the ground!”

“I just got my license; you said get my license!” Jones can be heard saying from the ground. “That’s my license right there.”

Groubert demands that Jones put his hand behind his back as Jones asks, “What did I do, sir?”

Eventually Groubert asks Jones if he’s been hit.

“I think so. I can’t feel my leg. I don’t know what happened,” Jones says, the confusion in his voice obvious. “Why did you shoot me?”

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“Well, you dove headfirst back into your car,” Groubert says, by way of explanation.

One bullet hit Jones in the hip, the news site reports. Jones was resting and recovering at his home after a stint in the hospital.

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The entire incident was apparently started over Jones’ driving without a seat belt. Jones explains that he had taken off his seat belt as he was pulling into the gas station.

Read more at The State.

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DISCUSSION

wow. 2014, and this is the first I have known this man’s name or the story.  I happened into it by reading today about the columnist who was “swatted” and survived it.  This happens so much, so often, unfolding nearly the same way each time--a scared cop, scared not by white people who reach for their driver’s licenses, but only by black and brown people who do.  Yet, white people for the most part see no pattern here, and many go all the way to denying that cops are shooting unarmed black and brown people at all!  is there more press now than in 2014?  Do more people know than before??