The South Carolina state trooper who pulled a man over for a seatbelt violation, demanding his identification – then shooting the man after he reached into his truck for his identification – pleaded guilty today to assault and battery charges.
Sean Groubert faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, according to the Washington Post.
The incident, captured on dash cam, took place on September 4, 2014 when Groubert pulled up on Levar Edward Jones at a Shell gas station. Jones had just stepped out of his car when Groubert stepped out of his car.
“Can I have your license, please?” Groubert asks.
Without saying a word, Groubert reaches into his tuck as if to retrieve his license, which made Groubert fear for his life.
“Get out of the car! Get out of the car!” Groubert yells, firing his gun.
With his arms in the air, Jones falls down as Groubert yells, “Get on the ground! Get on the ground!”
“Why did you shoot me?” Jones asks.
“You dove head first back into your car,” Groubert informs him.
“I’m sorry,” Jones says.
This is how Groubert explained it to his supervisor after the shooting.
“I pulled him over for a seat belt violation,” Groubert can be heard saying on the tape.
“Before I could event get out of my car he jumped out, stared at me, and as I jumped out of my car and identified myself, as I approached him, he jumped head-first back into his car.”
“I started retracting back towards the rear of his vehicle telling him ‘Look, get out of the car, let me see your hands. He jumped out of the car. I saw something black in his hands. I ran to the other side car yelling at him, and he kept coming towards me. Apparently it was his wallet.”
But the dash cam video shows he completely overreacted to a man who was only trying to comply with his demands.
He was criminally charged and fired two weeks after the incident. Just over a year later, he and his wife were arrested for shoplifting at Walmart.