A dashcam video captures the moment that a South Carolina police officer shot an unarmed man after a seat belt violation stop.
ABC News reports that the trooper in the video, Sean Groubert, was arrested Wednesday and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. The charges come following the public release of the startling dashcam video.
In the video we see Groubert stopping Levar Jones for a seat belt violation at a convenience store in Richmond County, South Carolina, on September 4, according to South Carolina Department of Public Safety. Jones is out of his vehicle when Groubert asked for his license. The license is in the car, so Jones, 35, turned back toward his car and reached inside. Groubert then began shooting and yelling at Jones to “get out of the car.”
Jones, who was unarmed, was hit in the hip with a bullet, police said. He can be heard saying “I just got my license. You said get my license.” He can also be heard saying “What did I do?”
The most disturbing shot was the last one fired at the 0:11 mark. When this final shot was fired, Jones clearly has his hands in the air and is facing the officer. In the video, you can clearly see that when the officer asks Jones for his license, the man checks his pocket and then simply reaches to the inside of the car for his wallet. Groubert gives the man no warning and starts shooting. He yells as shots are fired.
Though one may understand why a police officer does not want a person to reach across their vehicle, but the man was doing exactly as the police officer had just instructed him by reaching for his ID. It is unclear why Groubert continued to shoot Jones even after he could see there was no gun in the man’s hand. He shot two additional times after Jones was fully turned around looking startled and confused. The final shot being the one where Jones had his hands fully in the air.
Groubert was fired last week and he faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
What do you think the sentence should be for the police officer?