Ex-SC Trooper to be Sentenced for Shooting Man After Traffic Stop

Sean Groubert plead guilty last year to shooting Lavar Jones.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A former South Carolina state trooper will be sentenced Tuesday for shooting an unarmed man, a story that received national attention nearly three years ago.

Sean Groubert is scheduled to appear in a Richland County court, where he'll find out his punishment. In March of 2016, Groubert plead guilty to a charge of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. 

Groubert shot Levar Jones on September 4, 2014 outside a Circle K gas station on Broad River Road in Columbia. The then trooper said he stopped Jones for a seat belt violation.

An infamous dash cam video showed what happened next. ones exited his vehicle, and Groubert commanded him to get his license. Moments later, as Jones reached into his car to get the credential, Groubert began yelling at Jones to "get out of the car" firing several shots as he did.

While on the ground Jones said, "I have my license right here, you said get my license."

Groubert can be heard asking Jones if he was hit by a bullet and went on to say, "Bro, you dove head first back into your car."

The highway patrol is a division of the South Carolina Department of :Public Safety, and that agency's director, Leroy Smiith, fired Groubert after reviewing the video. Smith called the incident "disturbing," saying Groubert "reacted to a perceived threat where there was none."

Jones ultimately reached a $285,000 settlement with the state of South Carolina over the incident.  As part of the arrangement, Jones agreed to not pursue any further lawsuits related to the shooting. 

Groubert had been involved in another officer-involved shooting once before. In 2012, he pulled over a speeding suspect on Interstate 20 near Columbia. After the stop, the man drove off, and eventually was cornered by Groubert and other officers outside a bank. The suspect fired at officers, who responded by hitting and injuring the suspect. 

His attorney told the judge said last year Groubert was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder from that incident, and needed to take anti-depressants. 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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