News: What did I do, sir? asked Levar Jones

On September 24th prosecutors released footage of South Carolina State trooper LCpl. Groubert shooting an unarmed man during a routine traffic stop. On September Sean Groubert pulled over Levar Jones who had stopped at a Circle K convenience store. After Jones exited his vehicle, Groubert asked to see his license. Jones follows the command and turns around to grab his I.D as requested and at that point the trooper yells “get out the car,” twice before firing four shots. In the video that you may have watched above Laver says, “I just got my license. You said get my license,” Jones says. “I grabbed my license. Right there, that’s my license.”
“Put your hands behind your back,” Groubert tells him, as he walks over to cuff the innocent man. “What did I do? What did I do, sir?” Jones asks. Groubert asks him if he is hit. “I think so, I can’t feel my leg,” the injured man replied. “I don’t know what happened. I just grabbed my license. Why did you shoot me?” “Well, you dove headfirst back into your car,” he said. This is not the protocol the police must follow according to Leroy Smith DPS Director. According to WLTX, Groubert was fired on September 19 by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety after a review of the State Law Enforcement Division report.
This is not Groubert first over reaction. According to News19, they received a list of complaints against LCpl. Groubert received by SCDPS. The Office of Professional Responsibility has investigated four complaints against him and is currently looking into a fifth case. Reviews of the complaints found no misconduct in two of the cases, and found department policies were violated in the other two.
Those cases are as follows:

  • 11-15-2006: “Subject alleged she was stopped for no reason. Groubert stated that he observed erratic driving.” After a review the case was ruled to be unfounded, meaning misconduct did not occur.
  • 8-27-2006: “Groubert was assisting at the scene of a collision with other troopers where the father alleged his son was unnecessarily detained for questioning at the scene. Groubert’s presence at the scene was found not to violate any policies.” In this case, Groubert’s actions were determined to be within policy and within the law.
  • 5-22-2009: “Groubert arrested subject for DUI. Did not follow administrative procedure for implied consent law and the case was not prosecuted.”
  • 1-6-2013: “Groubert was blocking a lane of traffic to assist in rerouting traffic due to a collision. A subject drove around his patrol vehicle. Subject complained that he spoke to her in an unprofessional manner. He stopped and charged subject with ‘disobedience to police,’ which was determined to be an improper charge. Charge was dismissed.”
  • 8-21-2014: SCDPS tells News19 a complaint was filed about an incident during a court proceeding. When asked for details about the complaint, a SCDPS spokesperson emailed saying, “We cannot give you any further details on it because it is ongoing.”

LCpl. Groubert’s file also includes several awards. Groubert was awarded the Medal of Valor Award by SCDPS in 2013 for his actions during an incident outside the Wells Fargo bank branch in Columbia’s Five Points. Groubert exchanged shots at the suspect in that case, an action that investigators say was warranted.
Levar Jones is currently recovering from his wounds while Groubert is facing 20 years in jail if convicted. I wonder what the outcome would have been if the dash camera footage did not show up? Who would they have believed?

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