SC state trooper fired and arrested after shooting man reaching into his car for ID
A former South Carolina state trooper can be seen shooting a man who was reaching into his car for his license during a traffic stop in footage released on Wednesday, WLTX-TV reported Wednesday night.
The video, taken with a dashboard camera, shows 31-year-old Sean Groubert shooting at 35-year-old Levar Jones multiple times on Sept. 4, hitting him in the hip. At the time, Jones, who was standing outside of his vehicle with his hands up, was reaching inside for his license at Groubert’s request.
Jones then falls out of the frame, but can be heard asking Groubert, “Why did you pull me over?”
“A seatbelt violation, sir,” Groubert replies.
“I just pulled it off right there at the corner to pull in the gas station,” Jones yells in response.
“Well, I got help coming to you, okay?” Groubert tells him.
Groubert was fired on Sept. 19. The footage was released following his arrest on Wednesday. He is charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and being held on $75,000 bond.
State Rep. Todd Rutherford (D), who is Jones’ attorney, told the Columbia State that Jones has paid fines on drug-related charges in 2011 and on a warrant for outstanding traffic tickets the following year, but has no marks on his criminal record otherwise.
“What is clear is that he was not armed and there was no weapon in the car,” Rutherford was quoted as saying.
According to The State, Groubert has been cited twice for violating department policy: once in 2009 for wrongfully ticketing a driver for driving under the influence after the driver passed a sobriety test; and once last year for speaking to a woman “in an unprofessional manner” after a woman drove around his patrol vehicle while he was rerouting traffic.
Watch the footage, as posted by WLTX on Wednesday, below.