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COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina state trooper was fired last week and arrested on Wednesday after a dash cam video showed him shooting an unarmed man during a routine traffic stop.
According to WIS, the shooting happened in the parking lot of a Circle K on Broad River Road on Sept. 4 after Lance Cpl. Sean Groubert pulled Levar Edward Jones over for a seat belt 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, hitting him in the hip.
While Jones is on the ground, 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 was just getting my license.”
Groubert explains to Jones the reason he shot at him was because Jones dove head first in the vehicle.
Groubert is facing an assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature charge, which could carry 20 years in prison.
Barney Giese, Groubert’s defense attorney, said Jones reached for his license “aggressively” and Trooper Groubert thought he was reaching for a gun.
Groubert pleaded not guilty and is free after posting a $75,000 bond. He’s expected to appear in court on Oct. 24.
South Carolina Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith called the case disturbing.
“After my review of the facts surrounding this matter, I have determined that Mr. Groubert’s actions rose to such an extent that his employment with us must be terminated,” Smith said in a statement last week. “While Mr. Groubert was within the law to stop Mr. Jones for a safety belt violation, the force administered in this case was unwarranted, inconsistent with how our troopers are trained, and clearly in violation of Department policies.”