Statement from SCDPS Director Leroy Smith:
After my review of the facts surrounding this matter, I have determined that Mr. Groubert's actions rose to such an extent that his employment with us must be terminated. The facts of this case are disturbing to me, but I believe this case was an isolated incident in which Mr. Groubert reacted to a perceived threat where there was none. The department's Use of Force Policy makes clear that officers shall use "only the level of force necessary to accomplish lawful objectives" and that "the use of force must be discontinued when it becomes apparent to the officer that the force is no longer needed." That protocol was not followed in this case.
Further, this incident occurred in broad daylight. Mr. Groubert had a clear and unobstructed view of Mr. Jones. While Mr. Groubert was within the law to stop Mr. Jones for a safety belt violation, the force administered in this case was unwarranted, inconsistent with how our troopers are trained, and clearly in violation of Department policies. These violations demonstrate behavior that deviates from SCDPS standards and cannot be tolerated.
The Highway Patrol professionally makes around 750,000 traffic contacts per year. Our troopers are trained to protect the public we serve, and motorists' safety is paramount to us. Groubert's actions in this situation were contradictory to the outstanding training our troopers receive. This case has been thoroughly investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division and has been turned over to the Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office for review and determination of any subsequent criminal charges. The SCDPS Office of Professional Responsibility's internal investigation of this case continues. Additionally, the trooper's in-car video is part of an ongoing criminal prosecution review and, therefore, will be released in coordination with Solicitor's Office. I want to thank the community for its patience as we continue our administrative investigation into this matter."