Ugh. Another day, another video making the rounds of a police officer shooting an unarmed civilian. Columbia, South Carolina’s WLTX News 19 has obtained a video from South Carolina Highway Patrol of a trooper unloaded into a man during a traffic top in Columbia on September 4th. The video was just made public today during the hearing for trooper Sean Groubert, who was fired from the Highway Patrol after the incident and now faces 20 years in prison for wrongfully shooting the driver. The cause? A seat belt violation. Via The State:
An S.C. trooper who stopped a man for a seat belt violation outside Columbia and then shot him – apparently without provocation – was arrested Wednesday and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
Sean Groubert, 31, a lance corporal who was fired from the Highway Patrol after the shooting incident, now faces 20 years in prison if convicted of wrongfully shooting the driver, Levar Jones.
The video shows Groubert firing repeatedly at Jones, who was not armed and who was not behaving aggressively. Jones was struck at least once, in the hip. He spent time in the hospital and is now out of the hospital recuperating.
According to the video, the trooper asked the man to give him his license, then the man leans into his car (…perhaps for his license, as instructed?). The next few things happen in one swift gesture: The officer yells for him to get out of his car while rushing towards him with his weapon drawn. When the man gets out of the car (as instructed), he’s greeted with multiple shots before he could even get his hands in the air to show that he wasn’t a threat.
The victim survived the incident and is reportedly recovering after being hospitalized. The whole thing was captured on dash cam in a gas station parking lot, as you can see in the video below.