Columbia, S.C. –Levar Edward Jones was shot by a state trooper in early September of 2014. Now, nearly three years after the cowardly and deadly actions by this trooper, he is finally being held accountable, and Jones is seeing the justice he deserves.
On Tuesday, former South Carolina State Trooper, Sean Groubert was sentenced to 12 years in prison. However, while that may seem substantial, 5 of them were suspended for time served, and Groubert will only spend 3 years behind bars for nearly killing an innocent man who was doing everything he was supposed to do during a traffic stop.
The incident, which the Free Thought Project reported upon initially after it took place on September 4, 2014, began when trooper Sean Groubert pulled Jones over for allegedly not wearing a seat belt.
Dash cam from the trooper’s cruiser recorded the interaction.
After being pulled over, Jones could be seen exiting his vehicle, at which point Groubert asked for his license.
When Jones reached to grab his license, Groubert began shooting at him.
While shooting at Jones, Groubert yelled, “Get out of the car, get out of the car.”
To which Jones replied, ”I just got my license, you said get my license.”
The trooper can be seen in the footage firing four bullets at Jones in less than five seconds.
Amazingly, Jones had enough composure to raise his hands up in surrender while being shot at, yet Groubert continued to fire on the surrendering man.
In the video, Groubert asks Jones if he was hit by a bullet. Then he tries to imply that it was Jones’ fault that he just shot at him, “Bro, you dove head first back into your car.”
When asked why he was pulled over Groubert told Jones that it was a “seat belt violation,” to which Jones responded, “I just pulled my seat belt off right there.”
Groubert was subsequently fired by the Highway Patrol shortly after the incident. The Department of Public Safety stated that the trooper had violated several patrol agency policies, used too much force for too long and misread Jones as a threat.
At the time of the shooting, South Carolina Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith, after viewing the video, called the actions of Groubert “disturbing.”
Luckily for Jones, Groubert is an apparent failure as a marksman and only one of the four rounds fired at point blank range struck him. He was hit in the hip and has since recovered.
With the egregious nature of the trooper’s offenses, it’s heartening to actually see a law enforcement professional being held accountable for their actions under color of law. The taxpayers were also held accountable for the Trooper’s actions. In 2015, Jones received a modest settlement of $300,000 for being shot by a cop for no reason.
As you watch the video below, remember that this stop was over an alleged seat belt violation. Unfortunately, incidents like this play out all across the country on a regular basis. However, many of them aren’t caught on dash cam and the officers are never held accountable.
Even when the incidents are caught on dash cam and the officer is seen shooting an unarmed person in the face — all too often, these incidents are ruled justified and the officers not held accountable.
Below is a video which epitomizes the shoot first and ask questions later attitude and training of police across the country.
Next time someone tries to tell you that “if you don’t break the law, you have nothing to worry about,” show them this video.