Graphic dash cam video released in trooper-involved shooting
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office released dash cam video in a trooper-involved shooting earlier this month.
The shooting happened in the parking lot of a Circle K on Broad River Road Sept. 4 after Lance Cpl. Sean Groubert pulled Levar Edward Jones over for a seatbelt violation.
In the video released Wednesday night, Groubert asks for Jones' license. Jones then checks his back pocket before going back to his vehicle.
Groubert then fires several shots at Jones before Jones falls to the ground.
While Jones is on the ground with a gunshot wound to the hip, he asks Groubert "What did I do, sir?"
Groubert then asks Jones if he was hit.
"I don't know what happened," Jones says in the video. "I just grabbed my license."
Groubert explains to Jones the reason he shot at him was because Jones dove head first in the vehicle.
"I just asked for prayers for Mr. Jones' family," Rev. Kenneth Spry said. "I ask for prayers for his family, because I know this causes a change in life."
Spry, who is a reverend at Bethlehem Baptist Church and was at the scene, said he's elated by what he calls justice.
Groubert is facing an assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature charge, which could carry 20 years in prison.
"They didn't waste a lot of time because of the public stewing and brewing over this situation," Spry said.
Barney Giese, Groubert's defense attorney, said there's more than one way to interpret the video and told the judge Wednesday his client is not guilty and was justified in shooting Jones who was reaching for his license. Giese, who served as the Fifth Judicial Circuit Solicitor for 16 years, said Jones reached for his license "aggressively" and Trooper Groubert thought he was reaching for a gun.
Prior to the law changing, officers could not pull a driver over only for not wearing a seat belt.
Since the revised law started in December 2005, the SC Highway Patrol said state troopers have issued more than one million safety belt violations to drivers.
The law allows law enforcement officers to stop a driver if the officer can see the driver is not wearing a seat belt. The fine for a seat belt violation is $25.
According to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, Groubert posted $75,000 bond Wednesday night.
Court records show Groubert's next court date is Oct. 24.
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