Charges brought against Jonathan Pentland, White Army officer seen on video threatening a black man, saying he is “in the wrong neighborhood”


Columbia, South Carolina – A White Army noncommissioned officer seen in a viral video stalking and shoving a black man in a South Carolina neighborhood has been charged with assault in the third degree. Jonathan Pentland, 42, was charged Wednesday and listed as being held at the Richland County Jail and posted a personal recognition bond, according to online jail records.

Dozens of protesters showed up at Pentland’s home Wednesday, reports WLTX-TV, an affiliate of CBS Columbia, South Carolina.

The protesters were from across the state, the station says.

Jasmine James, who lives in the neighborhood, told WLTX that she “came out today because I wanted to make my voice heard, so people know this is not okay. We are just trying to exist and be a part of America like everyone else. “.

“We can no longer stand by and let it happen,” he added.

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Protesters at the home in Columbia, South Carolina, of U.S. Army Officer Jonathan Pentland on April 14, 2021.

WLTX-TV


According to WLTX, Richland County deputies said they were called to the neighborhood shortly after 8 p.m. and transported the family from the home to another location. They also closed the neighborhood to anyone who doesn’t live there.

The video, posted Monday by a woman on Facebook and shared thousands of times, shows a man, identified as Pentland, demanding that a black man leave the neighborhood and using obscenities before threatening him with physical violence.

“You’re in the wrong neighborhood,” Pentland, standing on the sidewalk, can be heard saying to the other man before using an expletive. “I’m not going to play with you … I’m about to show you what I can do.”

According to Shirell Johnson, who posted the video, the incident occurred in a subdivision of The Summit, which has an address in Columbia but is technically outside the city limits. The video does not show what started the conflict.

The recording begins with Pentland, a US Army Sergeant First Class, asking a black man what he is doing in the area. The black man says he was just walking around and not disturbing anyone.

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Jonathan Pentland mugshot from April 14, 2021.

Richland County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Department / WLTX-TV


Throughout the three-minute video, Pentland continually demands that the other man leave the neighborhood, gets right in his face, and at one point shoves the man, who nearly falls to the ground.

“Come on, let’s go,” he said. “I’m about to do something to you. You better start walking right now.”

At the end of the video, a woman whom Pentland identifies as his wife can be heard telling the other man that he had a fight with “some random young lady” in the neighborhood, a claim that the black man later denies.

Johnson said authorities arrived at the scene and only gave Pentland a citation for intentional property damage for taking the phone from the man’s hand and breaking it.

Officials at Fort Jackson, the largest basic training facility in the US Army, said Wednesday they were investigating the incident. In one of their Twitter accounts, officials at the base also said that US Justice Department authorities were also investigating.

According to social media accounts connected to Pentland, he has been stationed at Fort Jackson since 2019 and has served as a drill sergeant at the garrison, a 53,000-acre complex that trains 50% of all soldiers and 60% of the women who they enter the Army. every year.

When asked on Twitter for his response to the video, Fort Jackson Brigade Commander. General Milford H. Beagle Jr. said the behavior shown in the video “is in no way tolerated by any member of the service.”

“We will get to the bottom of this as soon as possible,” he said.

On his official Facebook page, Beagle said Army officials “have started our own investigation and are working with local authorities.”

Earlier this year, the Department of Defense announced that Beagle would take over as commanding general at Fort Drum, New York, to be succeeded at Fort Jackson by Brig. General Patrick R. Michaelis. An official transfer date has not been announced.

Commenters on the video said they had contacted the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to request that additional charges be filed.

In a statement released early Wednesday, a department spokeswoman said officers had been dispatched to the neighborhood for an “assault” call involving one of the men several days prior to the date of the video, and that all matters they were under investigation.

During an afternoon news conference, Sheriff Leon Lott said the other man in the video was not a minor, but he declined to reveal his name. Lott said the man had been involved in other incidents in the neighborhood in the days leading up to the video, but said “none of them justified the assault that occurred.”

“The first time I saw the video, it was terrible. It was unnecessary,” Lott said, noting that he had met with community leaders and elected officials before speaking to reporters. Lott said his investigators had turned his case over to prosecutors, who determined what charge to bring against Pentland.

Pentland did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. If convicted, he faces up to 30 days in jail and a $ 500 fine.

State Sen. Mia McLeod, who represents the area, said in the Senate Wednesday that she had spent much of the previous day discussing the incident and planned to meet with the sheriff later that day.

“My kids have a fucking right to live,” said McLeod, who is Black. “Another unarmed black man could be dead today because he was walking in a neighborhood that I was told is adjacent to his, doing absolutely nothing.”

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