Whenever a video showing police brutality or abuse of power becomes public, law enforcement agencies have always claimed that the videos are isolated incidents non-reflective of the majority of law enforcement officers. With the help of youtube, dash cameras, and cell phone cameras, we can see that police brutality and abuse of power seems to be more of an epidemic rather than isolated incidents. The video above is just one more incident to add to the list.
The video above shows a South Carolina State Trooper shooting an unarmed man during what should have been a routine traffic stop. The incident occurred on September 4th, 2014 at a Circle K gas station in Columbia, South Carolina. 31 year old Sean Groubert, a lance corporal with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, pulled over 35 year old Levar Jones in what should have been a routine traffic stop.
The video starts off with Jones getting out of his vehicle as Officer Groubert pulls up. It sounds like Officer Groubert ask politely asks Jones, “let me see your license please”. As Jones returns to his vehicle to retrieve his license, Officer Groubert pulls out his gun and can be seen running across the front of the vehicle while shouting out, “Get out of the car! Get out of the car!”
As Jones follows the instructions of Officer Groubert and exits the vehicle as instructed, Officer Groubert opens fire. When Officer Groubert fires his first couple shots, it appears as though Jones is holding something in his hand when he turns around, most likely his wallet. Jones jumps away from the car and puts his hands up while looking back at his car. It appears as though Jones is looking back to see what Officer Groubert is shooting at, falsely assuming that the Officer would not be shooting at him since he is unarmed and has his hands up.
In clear view of the dash camera, Jones has his hands up and is completely unarmed when Officer Groubert fires a couple more shots striking Jones. Jones then falls to the ground off camera. Officer Groubert can be heard shouting, “Get on the ground! Get on the ground!” Jones can also be heard responding with, “I just got my license. You said get my license.”
Officer Groubert then proceeds to tell Jones to put his hands behind his back so that he can handcuff him. After Jones is handcuffed, he asks Officer Groubert, “what did I do sir?”. Jones also asks Officer Groubert, “why did you shoot me?”