A U.S. Army drill sergeant who was filmed shoving a Black man during a confrontation in a South Carolina neighborhood was on Monday found guilty of third-degree assault and battery.
The viral video of the April confrontation between Jonathan Pentland and the Black man drew the ire of a section of the public after it was circulated on social media. The Fort Jackson soldier was arrested and charged in the aftermath of the incident. He was also suspended from his duties as a drill instructor at Fort Jackson.
According to CNN, Pentland has been ordered to either pay a $1,087 fine or spend 30 days in jail for the offense. In a statement, Pentland’s attorney, Benjamin Stitely, said they’re going to appeal the verdict.
“We are of course disappointed with the judge’s decision and are looking into further pursuing legal remedies to challenge the decision,” Stitely said. “As quoted in several of the local media outlets, Mr. Pentland stands by his right to defend his family and home from a genuine treat (sic) and is deeply hurt by the situation.”
Stitely also said authorities did not investigate “the background factors regarding Mr. Williams’ [the victim’s] actions leading up to the small portion of the encounter captured in the viral video.”
During the trial, the victim testified he was minding his business prior to being approached by Pentland, WIS reported. But Pentland testified he confronted the victim after a neighbor came over to his home to ask for help. The neighbor said her daughter and grandson were being harassed by the victim.
In the April video, Pentland is heard telling Williams he’s “aggressing on the neighborhood” before he is seen shoving the Black man. Pentland then goes ahead to tell the victim to leave the neighborhood.
“You either walk away or I’m going to carry your a** out of here,” Pentland is heard telling the Black man, to which he responds, “I did not do anything.”
“I am about to do something to you. You better start walking,” the soldier tells the victim. “You’re in the wrong neighborhood m*therf**ker. Get out.”
Authorities said Williams had been involved in two separate incidents prior to being confronted by Pentland, CNN reported. The two incidents also happened in April and they were reported to deputies with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. In one of the incidents, Williams is said to have touched a woman without her consent. He’s also said to have picked up a baby without consent in the other incident.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department said Williams is suffering from an “underlying medical condition that may explain the behavior exhibited in the alleged incidents.”
I went for a walk yesterday evening and I encountered a young man (Deandre)in distress. I decided to record the incident in order to protect this black man from possibly becoming a statistic pic.twitter.com/fdgfAmc6zb— Shadae (@ShadaeMccallum) April 14, 2021