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Posted: September 25, 2014

Police: SC state trooper fired, charged in shooting unarmed man


By Cox Media Group National Content Desk


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A state trooper in South Carolina has found himself on the other side of the law, accused of shooting an unarmed man who was apparently reaching for his license.  

WIS-TV reports the shooting happened Sept. 4 in Columbia, South Carolina.  

In video released this week, the now-former state trooper, Lance Cpl. Sean Groubert fired several shots at the man before he fell.  

The wounded man, Levar Edward Jones, is heard on the tape asking what did he do and that he was getting his license according to WIS-TV.

Huffington Post reported in all three shots were heard on the tape, with Jones being wounded at least once in the hip.  

Groubert, WLTX reported, did not follow protocol when he opened fire.  He has been arrested, facing a charge of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.  

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According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, the traffic stop started when Groubert stopped the Jones for not wearing a seat belt.  

The director of the South Carolina Highway Patrol fired Groubert on Sept. 19 after reviewing the case.  In a press release Director Leroy Smith said:

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. The facts of this case are disturbing to me, but I believe this case was an isolated incident in which Mr. Groubert reacted to a perceived threat where there was none.  The department’s Use of Force Policy makes clear that officers shall use “only the level of force necessary to accomplish lawful objectives” and that “the use of force must be discontinued when it becomes apparent to the officer that the force is no longer needed.” That protocol was not followed in this case.

Further, this incident occurred in broad daylight. Mr. Groubert had a clear and unobstructed view of Mr. Jones. 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. These violations demonstrate behavior that deviates from SCDPS standards and cannot be tolerated. 

Jones was hospitalized for the wound, but has been released according to WIS-TV.  Groubert is free on bond.

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