A white Army sergeant has been charged with third-degree assault after an ugly confrontation with a Black man walking through a neighborhood in Columbia, South Carolina this week.
Jonathan Pentland was charged and released on a personal recognizance bond after a video posted to Facebook on Monday went viral showing him bullying and assaulting a young Black man — whose age is unclear — on a sidewalk.
In the video, the 42-year-old non-commissioned Army officer can be seen barefoot in shorts and a t-shirt on the sidewalk in front of his home, getting into the face of the Black man and confronting him.
Repeatedly, the soldier threatens the young man with acts of violence. At one point, Pentland can clearly be heard saying (below):
“You’re in the wrong neighborhood. I ain’t playing with you. … Let’s go, walk away. I’m about to do something to you. You better start walking right now. … I’m about to show you what I can do.”
Wow… Eventually, Pentland can be seen shoving the Black man at least once in the video; reports allege he later knocked the man’s cell phone out of his hand, damaging the property.
As you might expect, the incident quickly went viral and spread like wildfire across social media. You can see the exchange (below), but be warned — the language and violent posturing is severe, and NSFW:
The video does not show which one of them started the conflict, or what it was initially about. Shirell Johnson, the woman who first posted the video to her Facebook page, later claimed the Black man’s name is Deandre. Now, news outlets and authorities both continue to seek further details; Johnson did not return a request for comment from the Associated Press on Wednesday.
A woman who Pentland identified as his wife later claimed the Black man had “picked a fight with some random young lady” in the neighborhood, though it’s unclear whether there’s any truth to that claim, according to ABC News.
Eventually, authorities arrived on the scene and at first gave Pentland a citation for malicious injury to property for allegedly damaging the man’s cell phone. Later, after reviewing the video, the Army officer and drill sergeant — who currently serves at Fort Jackson in Richland County, South Carolina — was arrested and officially charged with third-degree assault.
Fort Jackson’s commanding Brigadier General Milford H. Beagle released a public statement about the incident this week, saying (below):
“[The video] is by no means condoned by any service member. We will get to the bottom of this ASAP … [Army officials] have begun our own investigation and are working with the local authorities.”
And on Wednesday afternoon, Beagle and the Fort Jackson communications staff doubled down on their desire to investigate the incident, saying they will be “transparent” with information about the case going forward:
As an update on the unfortunate incident that brought disrespect to @fortjackson our Army and the trust with the public we serve, please see below. 👇🏾 I will be transparent in the future with shareable information. The subject in this case was arrested. @PaulFunk2 @TradocDCG pic.twitter.com/prihGao1Nv
— Fort Jackson Commanding General (@fortjacksoncg) April 14, 2021
At about the same time as Beagle released that statement, dozens of protesters gathered in Pentland’s neighborhood to peacefully call out the unfortunate video:
— Tim Ryan Renaud (@TimWCBD) April 14, 2021
Even the local Sheriff thinks it’s f**ked up!
Sheriff Leon Lott spoke to the press about the incident and Pentland’s subsequent arrest, saying:
“The first time I saw the video, it was terrible. It was unnecessary.”
No s**t! Unnecessary is an understatement!
Here’s more from Sheriff Lott’s press conference about the incident (below):
What kind of a world do we live in, seriously?!
If convicted on the assault charge, Pentland faces up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.