NEW YORK, NY (WIS) - In his first television interview since he was shot by a South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper during a traffic stop, Levar Jones said he still has not seen video of the shooting that made headlines around the world just a month ago.
"It brings back a lot of memories for one," Jones said. "Second off, it's just something I have no interest in watching."
The shooting happened on Sept. 4 at a Circle K convenience store on Broad River Road when L. Cpl. Sean Groubert pulled in behind Jones to issue him a ticket for a seatbelt violation.
In the video, Groubert asked to see Jones' license. At that point, Jones checked his back pocket before turning around and reaching back into his truck. In those few seconds, Groubert reached for his weapon and fired off several rounds, striking Jones in his hip.
Jones crumpled to the ground and asked Groubert, "What did I do, sir?"
Groubert then asked Jones if he was hit.
"I don't know what happened," Jones said. "I just grabbed my license."
Groubert then told Jones he fired his weapon because Jones dove head first into the car.
Jones said during the interview that he had to defend himself from questions for weeks after the shooting until the tape was released by the Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office.
"The weeks that I had to go through, looking at people and telling them basically I pulled over at a gas station, officer asked me for my identification, and when I reached for my identification, I was shot at," Jones said. "To tell that story to anybody is just something no one can believe the first time until the tape was actually released and they saw it."
Jones also said he wouldn't have done anything differently upon reflection of what happened because he had no time to think.
Jones said the response to the video has been encouraging to him because of all the "love and compassion" he received from people around the country who found the video disturbing.
"I wasn't the only person affected by this," Jones said. "I know total strangers that have met me after the fact and have told me they started crying.
"This is a situation where right now we need to take all those feelings and put them into a bigger cause than even myself or even that tape."
As for Groubert, the state Department of Public Safety fired the trooper and the solicitor's office charged him with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature charge.
When asked about Groubert's charges, Jones said he would much rather have Groubert charged with a felony so that he would never be able to carry a weapon or become a law enforcement officer ever again.