Soldier charged with assault after video shows him shoving Black man
A U.S. soldier has been charged with assault after a video circulated online showing him yelling at, threatening and shoving a Black man in a South Carolina neighborhood.
The soldier, who was identified as Jonathan Pentland, was charged with third-degree assault and battery in the April 8 incident, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told reporters Wednesday. Pentland is stationed at Fort Jackson, about 10 miles east of Columbia, the base confirmed Wednesday.
“We’re not going to let people be bullies in our community, and if you are, then you’re going to answer for it,” Lott said.
Pentland was charged because he “put his hands on somebody,” Lott said. Lott did not identify the Black man in the video, whom he repeatedly described as a victim in the case.
The Justice Department is investigating, and the Army is cooperating, said Fort Jackson’s commander, Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr.
“The leaders at Fort Jackson in no way condone the behavior depicted in the video posted recently,” Beagle said. “This action deeply impacts our community — the neighbors in the Summit, the city of Columbia, Richland & Lexington counties, and our Army family.”
A phone number for Pentland listed in public records was disconnected, and his wife did not respond to a voicemail left at her cellphone number Wednesday.
In the video, which NBC News has seen, Pentland tells an unidentified Black man that he needs to “get out” and that he is “harassing” their neighborhood. The Black man at one point tries to speak to someone off camera before the other man reaches out and shoves him, yelling, “Walk away!”
“That’s my wife,” Pentland says.
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“That’s your wife? I didn’t do anything to your wife other than speak,” the other man says in the video.
“You either walk away or I’m going to carry your ass out of here,” Pentland says later.
Pentland also tries to get the man to give his address after he tells Pentland that he lives nearby, and Pentland accuses him of being in the wrong neighborhood. It appears in the video that the man tries to walk away toward Pentland’s right side and that Pentland follows after him.
Pentland also threatens to walk the man home and tells him there is only one way to exit as he tries to walk in a different direction to where Pentland points.
Eventually, the man walks away in the direction Pentland points, and the recording stops.
Social media users who shared the video condemned Pentland’s actions, commenting that the only thing the man did wrong was to be “walking while Black.”
It is unclear what happened before the video started recording, and Lott did not offer further details about what led to the confrontation. In the video, Pentland can be heard accusing the man of starting a fight with a woman in the neighborhood. Lott told reporters that whatever happened before the video did not justify Pentland’s actions.