Soldier charged after viral video surfaces of confrontation with Black man outside his SC home

Sheriff Lott holds a press conference to address viral video of Richland County confrontation.
Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 11:29 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A viral video showing a white man in Richland County, South Carolina confronting a Black man who was walking on the sidewalk outside of his home has led to an arrest.

The video is being investigated by police, Fort Jackson military officials, and the Department of Justice, and has drawn protesters to the neighborhood.

Jonathan Pentland faces assault and battery charges.
Jonathan Pentland faces assault and battery charges.(RCSD)

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott addressed the public Wednesday evening about the incident.

The sheriff confirmed Jonathan Pentland has been arrested and charged with third-degree assault and battery. That charge carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine or 30 days in jail.

The sheriff said his department “worked swiftly” to bring this case to a conclusion. His lead investigator slept in his office Tuesday night to make sure the investigation had a fast resolution, Lott said.

As the viral video begins, Pentland, who is a U.S. Army soldier based at Fort Jackson, asks the young Black man what he’s doing there, to which the young man replies he’s out for a walk.

It then shows the soldier saying, “you’re in the wrong neighborhood,” before swearing at the young man and telling him to “get out.”

The young man says he lives there.

Video shows Pentland shoving the young man and threatening to get more physical with him.

WARNING: The following video contains graphic language.

The soldier claims the younger man is “harassing the neighborhood,” which he describes as “tight knit.”

Police were called that night and deputies with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department responded.

The agency said this happened Monday, April 12 on Lakemont Drive. That’s in The Lakes at Barony Place, a subdivision off Summit Parkway, near Lake Carolina in northeast Richland County.

Lott said it took his deputies some time to properly investigate, and that’s why Pentland was not arrested on the spot.

He was arrested Wednesday morning.

Lott said Pentland will not receive any preferential treatment. He said Pentland will be treated like everyone else facing charges.

Fort Jackson confirmed an investigation into Pentland has also started at the federal level.

Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle, Jr. issued a statement saying military leaders do not condone the behavior in the video.

“I remain deeply concerned for the members of our Army family, the young man and his family, and the tensions that activities like this amplify over time,” Beagle said.

Deputies previously shared reports that claimed to detail two incidents involving the young man in the video. Lott said those reports may be connected to what happened, but “it doesn’t justify it.” He also said other factors may be at play.

RCSD said they are still investigating those reports as of Thursday.

Wednesday, the sheriff said the young man was a victim and he will not face any charges. Lott confirmed the victim is not a juvenile.

In the non-redacted parts of police reports provided by RCSD, Pentland’s zip code and zip code of the victim are listed. Those zip codes are the same.

Neighbors said they are familiar with the victim and he does live nearby. The women seen at the end of the video walked him home.

WIS reached out to the victim and his mother, but they do not want to comment. They fear for their safety.

A family member of the victim said he is shaken up, but behaved appropriately in the video.

She also said she was grateful for the peaceful protests because incidents like this have to be stopped locally and nationally.

Copyright 2021 WIS. All rights reserved.