According to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, a non-commissioned white Army soldier has been charged with third-degree assault after a viral video showed him shoving a Black man walking in a South Carolina neighborhood.
“The first time I saw the video, it was terrible,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said at a press conference on Wednesday evening, April 14. “It was unnecessary. It was a bad video — young man was the victim, the individual that was arrested was the aggressor, and he’s been dealt with accordingly.”
Recorded by Richland County Sheriff’s Department and court, Jonathan Pentland, an Army sergeant stationed at Fort Jackson, was charged with assault and battery in the third degree on April 14 and released without posting bail. The crime was a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $500 or a sentence of up to 30 days in prison.
In the video, Pentland was confronting a black man walking down the sidewalk and shouting at him to leave the Columbia, South Carolina neighborhood known as The Summit.
The video did not show how the conflict was started nor how it was ended.
Shadae McCallum, who lived in the neighborhood and filmed the video, said that the unidentified black man was first confronted by women who accused him of bullying their children, prompting Pentland to come out of the house and speak with the black man.
According to the sheriff’s department, the victim “approached several neighbors in a threatening manner, and the confrontation escalated after a neighbor asked Pentland to intervene.”
The sheriff said the victim might have approached the neighbors due to an undisclosed underlying medical condition.
Sheriff Leon Lott said at the press conference that the black man might have been involved in past incidents in the area where a 22-year-old black man reportedly “twice put his hand around a woman’s waist and picked up a baby without consent,” but that does not excuse the attack, the Post and Courier reported.
The Department of Justice was also investigating the incident.
According to the Post and Courier, Pentland informed officers on the scene that he was acting out of concern for himself and his friends and confessed to slapping the black man’s phone out of his hand after the video stopped recording.
About 40 protestors gathered outside the soldier’s house around April 14 at noon screaming, “This is our neighborhood, too!”
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Department announced that Pentland and his family were removed from their home after demonstrations outside turned violent and the house was vandalized. Non-residents were also barred from the driveway.
Officials said they were called to the Pentland home at 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday because an unknown number of demonstrators had vandalized it. Authorities said one of the objects hurled at the house smashed a light fixture and broke an upstairs window.