South Carolina State Trooper Sean Groubert shot Levar Edward Jones after Jones reached into his vehicle for the driver's license Groubert requested.
South Carolina State Trooper Sean Groubert shot Levar Edward Jones after Jones reached into his vehicle for the driver’s license Groubert requested.

A South Carolina state trooper is looking at the possibility of a very long prison sentence after he shot a motorist that he pulled over for a seatbeat violation.

The shooting happened in the parking lot of a Circle K on Broad River Road Sept. 4 after Lance Cpl. Sean Groubert pulled Levar Edward Jones over for a seatbelt 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 before Jones falls to the ground.

While Jones is on the ground with a gunshot wound to the hip, 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 just grabbed my license.”

Groubert explains to Jones the reason he shot at him was because Jones dove head first in the vehicle.

The video does not show that Jones “dove” towards the vehicle. It shows him checking his back pocket for his wallet, then reaching into his SUV to retreive it, at which point Groubert shouted at Jones but did not give him time to respond, and instead opened fire on him.

Groubert claims that he thought Jones was reaching for a gun. Here is the dashcam video from Groubert’s cruiser so that you can see the events as they transpired.

Groubert was fired last week, and is facing an “assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature” charge.

He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Jones was fortunate, and survived the shooting. He has been treated and released, and hopes that this incident can be used to reform how officers are trained.

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Several of my friends from elementary school, high school, and college became police officers or Sheriff’s deputies. There are two contributors here at Bearing Arms that are current or former police officers. I shoot with law enforcement officers, train with them, and have the occasional beer with them. They tend to be very pragmatic folks, and I simply “get” their mindset most of the time.

In my personal life, I’ve called officers to investigate crimes or possible crimes on numerous occasions. I’ve had officers come to investigate me, or run across me while investigating a crime (including an armed robbery), on a half dozen other occasions. I’ve often been armed (either open or concealed) during these encounters.

Each and every one of these interactions has been entirely professional… except for the one stop in the early 1990s with Camaro full of guns. That encounter featured a quip that a left the Sheriff’s deputy laughing so hard—tears streaming down his face, gasping for breath—that I thought he was going to fall over (remind me to tell you that story sometime).

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