Footage of S.C. trooper shooting unarmed man released

Footage of a South Carolina trooper shooting an unarmed man he had pulled over was released on Wednesday, leaving little doubt that the law enforcement officer’s use of force was excessive.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Sean Groubert stopped motorist Levar Jones in a gas station near Columbia on Sept. 4.

After instructing Jones to retrieve his driver’s license, for reasons that aren’t quite clear, Groubert then opened fire on the motorist, shooting him in the hip.

Following the incident, Groubert was fired. He now faces charges of aggravated assault and battery, a felony that may put him behind bars for up to 20 years if he is convicted.

“The force administered in this case was unwarranted, inconsistent with how our troopers are trained, and clearly in violation of department policies,” said South Carolina Public Safety Director Leroy Smith, upon delivering the news that Groubert would be removed from the force.

Meanwhile, Jones survived the gunshot wound. It is believed he’ll make a full recover.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Amado June 25, 2017, 11:12 am

    I don’t know the cops are usually getting trigger-happy lately so now you have a gun and your the! Car and you are the criminal it’s got to stop now you’re a black man you are Criminal gotta be a better way

  • Tom G September 29, 2014, 9:22 pm

    Newsflash, law enforcement is a sometimes dangerous job so if you are that scared to do the job correctly LE, maybe this job is not for you. Maybe try supermarket checkout clerk.
    That guy did nothing wrong and shouldn’t have to be trained on how to react to police commands. The officer asked and the guy complied . BTW he was already out of the car when the cop rolled up for a seat belt infraction of all things.

  • Bob Blanding September 29, 2014, 6:28 pm

    Cops are becoming more and more militarized every day, they believe they are the law, and there is nothing more dangerous for a law abiding citizen, more dangerous than the armed thugs, POS’s, and career criminals is a law enforcement officer who does not know the law, in part or fulfilled, you can always tell when to be careful with a cop,is when a “POS” LEO is walking to your vehicle and speaking in a loud voice demands you to give him/her your F’ing license and reg. I know this because been there,LOL.I am way more fearing of cops now a days, than any of the above.

    • Amado June 25, 2017, 11:15 am

      I agree with you cops are getting out of hand I know it’s a dangerous job but nobody is above the law some of these cops are just full of hatred if they can handle it get out

      • TimothyJ999 July 24, 2017, 8:09 am

        Here’s the thing: being a cop isn’t even in the top 10 in terms of most dangerous job. Logger, fisherman, farmer, roofer, taxi driver, garbage man, truck driver–ALL of those are more dangerous than LEO.
        Yes, individual LEO’s are in occasional danger, but the idea that they all have red laser dots on their chest all the time is BS.

  • Mike September 29, 2014, 5:13 pm

    Far more police have been shot while making a routine traffic stop than police have shot motorists.

    • Winston September 29, 2014, 8:09 pm

      Your sources as to the shootings are what? Do they include the 1950s-1960s as well when police could shoot just about anyone- especially minorities- and make up the stories later?

  • J. Walsh September 29, 2014, 3:41 pm

    Most police work is that of De Facto Tax Collector.

    This is what happens when you get so MANY bad laws. Is it a good idea to wear a seatbelt? Yes. Is it a bad law to allow a police officer to force you to pay money to the state for not going along with the Socialist Nanny State’s good idea? I think not. Over-criminalization here resulted in a shooting! It appears to me that the encounter with the police was far more dangerous than driving without a seatbelt!!

    • VeteranOverwatch September 29, 2014, 8:20 pm

      I completely agree that “Law Enforcement Officers” have become the revenue generation branch of the local and state judiciary. In this case, I fail to see who(m) was “protected” or “served”. It most certainly was not the public.

      • Amado June 25, 2017, 11:18 am

        I guess like everybody that works in the government they forget they work for us the taxpayers and citizens they’re getting trigger-happy and I don’t like that that’s scary

  • BigR September 29, 2014, 2:44 pm

    The man did move very fast to get his license out of the truck, but the cop was a little too cautious, and fast on the trigger. Luckily the cop was also a very bad shot!

  • dink winkerson September 29, 2014, 12:41 pm

    Wonder how many times that cop put his hand at rest on his pistol while interviewing someone. Asked a cop not to do that because it made me a little nervous, he said it was a habit. I advised him it was a bad habit.

  • henry September 29, 2014, 12:11 pm

    I thought this PPCT (fight or flight), had been discarded long ago. The “fight or flight” has been written about since the US Civil War and has been totally proven false. The last I heard the PPCT creator was sacked from his company and sued in a Federal Court in Tennessee and lost millions. Most of the Federal Agencies stopped using PPCT years ago. It would amaze me if any Law Enforcement still bought in or used PPCT for training.

  • joe September 29, 2014, 12:00 pm

    Time to start arresting Police. Drug test Police. Stop Bruce Siddle from training Police. These stressed out Police are going to cause a civil war. Race has nothing to do with it. These people are trained with the make believe PPCT system invited by a person with no real or legitimate background or education and this is just an example of the result. Look at Furgeson, Missouri/St.Louis, the birthplace of this horrible make believe PPCT system which has infected our entire law enforcement community.

  • Robert Bostick September 29, 2014, 11:47 am

    My first question is, how many of the above commentators have had LE training? I have and believe me if a driver gets out of his vehicle and then reaches in for ???? you are advised to be on high alert. Too many cops have gotten shot for negligence concerning this. Now, did the cop over react? Probably. Let’s cover the scenario and see what is taught in most CCW classes. If you are pulled over turn off your motor and immediately put your hands on the top of the steering wheel. Do not roll down the window. That protects you and the assumed police officer. (there have been incidences where an impersonator took advantage of a rolled down window to attack the motorist). Then wait until the officer approaches and gives you further instruction. He, at that point, can see everything you are doing. Sound advice. If you are a CCW inform the officer that you are and present him with both the driver license and the CCW permit. Also inform him/her if you have a weapon in the vehicle. He is not allowed to ask to see the weapon or handle it. That is against regulations normally. Why is it not taught in every LE school and CCW class? It would avoid tragedies like this.

    • Damon September 29, 2014, 2:03 pm

      In this case, the motorist had already exited his vehicle when approached by his assailant. He was fueling his vehicle, and the LEO had followed him into the area around the pumps to issue a seat belt violation citation.
      Not only did the shooter miss three of four point – blank shots, he discharged a firearm within scant yards of active gasoline pumps, and fired at least one shot by my count as the victim retreated from the vehicle with his clearly empty hands in the air. This idiot gets no “benefit of doubt” from me. Attempted murder.

      • DC October 1, 2014, 1:12 pm

        Yes sir plus what of his background it is a full gas station with people all around and had no care for they’re safety whatsoever he could’ve easily killed an innocent bystander or set off an explosion lets just hope his police union don’t get him his job back. I am a member of a union and completely believe in they’re help and power but not if it is wrongfully used to get someone like him his job back this “man” not officer should b in prison for the rest of his life just like any of us would b for the same stupidity

    • RomoCop September 29, 2014, 7:15 pm

      could the officer have exited his vehicle in a prepare to fire stance position? absolutely!
      could the officer have offered to get the d/l himself? absolutely!
      was the officer scared? absolutely!
      did the young man move a bit too fast for comfort? absolutely!
      could the young man have stated his purpose for entering the truck? absolutely!
      What people (civilians) don’t understand, is that they are not police officers.
      What civilians cant comprehend is that 8-10 hours a day, officers walk around with a bull’s-eye on their back.
      What people cant understand, is that officers get paid less than plumbers, get trained less than aircraft technicians, have to out think criminals, read body language better than a martial arts expert and yet somehow portray a likeable bubbly personality in the face of apparent danger, because “that’s their job”.. newsflash! when guns are outlawed and cops are obsolete, try getting a full blown soldier in martial law to give you an explanation for what he did. Dead men tell no tales.

      • sniper June 23, 2017, 7:04 am

        Okay, romocop maybe you fucking idiots should’t be so trigger happy and learn how to shoot instead of emptying your
        gun all the time one well placed shot or two at the most is all that’s needed cause you fuckers already have the upper hand
        by having your gun drawn and no regard to consequences because of that badge you have more than enough time to evaluate the danger if are soldiers acted like the cops they would be in jail for war crimes and you fuckers get away
        with it all the time bullshit.

  • roger mason September 29, 2014, 10:04 am

    he clearly and inarguably attempted to murder the man.
    the charge should be ATTEMPTED MURDER.

  • MarkPA September 29, 2014, 9:06 am

    This case is a perfect illustration of what – in my opinion – are the 2 sides of “bad-shots” by police.
    First and foremost, the police need to be taught – and they need to learn – that they don’t have a license-to-kill whenever they think they have an adequate pretext. I fear that we are training cops to have a hair-trigger mentality based on a mere plausible fear. The citizen in this case appeared to move fairly rapidly to retrieve his wallet creating a pretext of a plausible fear. Nevertheless, the totality of the circumstances were such that the citizen deserved the benefit of the doubt. That the cop was such a bad shot implies that he was terrified, far beyond a legitimate prudent exercise of self-defense in the face of fear.
    Second, citizens need to learn that they are facing heightened risk circumstances when stopped by a cop. This isn’t Mayberry anymore. The cop doesn’t know you – the law-abiding citizen – from a fugitive. The cop is armed and in a self-defense frame of mind. If you – the citizen – value your life then you need to learn safe protocols to avoid signaling a furtive movement. It’s really tough to distinguish a furtive movement for a gun vs. a wallet. (See, especially, Amadou Diallo.) This young fit citizen’s prompt moves for his wallet are perfectly understandable but indistinguishable as respects the object he intended to retrieve (wallet vs. gun).
    Drivers’ Ed courses need to teach students about all the typical things that can go wrong (reaching for wallet in console, registration and insurance in glove compartment) and teach the safe protocol for dealing with them. Cops need to figure out what protocol ought to be taught (e.g., get your paperwork ready before the cop approaches the car vs. ask for permission to retrieve your wallet or registration and insurance, move very slowly).
    Frankly, explicit conversations about police encounters ought to serve to disabuse the thinking-challanged sheeple that we have nothing to fear from cops. Too many have a bizarre idea that the “only ones” never make mistakes (badges make them immune from mistakes) and that cops have X-ray eyes and can distinguish ambiguous cases for what they really are.
    We PotG – especially those of us who carry – have a far more realistic understanding. The difference between a cop and a CWP-holder is that:
    – the cop knows he has qualified immunity; while
    – the CWP-holder knows he does NOT have qualified immunity.
    Once the sheeple understand this they will understand that CWP-holders represent less of a threat to their lives than cops at a traffic stop.

  • icetrout September 29, 2014, 7:54 am

    same song is being played by LE way too often…

  • alex gregis September 29, 2014, 7:23 am

    well it looks like lavar just got early retirement from the government,by the time his lawyers get done,he won’t have to work anymore.

  • Brian Farr September 29, 2014, 5:34 am

    Shouldn’t the charge be attempted murder? You know, like it is if we would have fired a gun at someone??

    • M1Hound September 30, 2014, 2:28 pm

      I have a CCW and I know if I were the shooter because I “feared great bodily harm or death” at the hands of the victim i would be locked for a long time, my guns would be taken away and my CCW would be history. This blatant act of racism is an example of a bigger problem simmering in the belly of our great country.

  • Ted September 26, 2014, 5:58 pm

    It’s a good thing this officer was a bad shot. He fired off four rounds at close range and “only” hit the victim in the hip. Not only that, but he had no regard for what was behind his target. It is fortunate that no one else was wounded or killed.

  • Slim September 26, 2014, 11:08 am

    Most cops I believe are good but the few that have bad attitudes this is what eventually they turn into.

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