Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Jailhouse recordings of a former South Carolina state trooper convicted and sentenced for killing an unarmed man showed the man using racially insensitive language.
The audio files of Sean Groubert were mentioned during his sentencing hearing Tuesday, and were released to News19 by prosecutors Wednesday.
A judge sentenced Groubert to five years in prison plus probation for shooting Levar Jones outside a Columbia gas station in September of 2014. Groubert, who at the time worked for the highway patrol, had said Jones posed a threat to him after he pulled him over for a traffic stop, but a dash cam recording clearly contradicted that statement.
During his hearing Tuesday, prosecutors were arguing for the maximum sentence in response to the defense's argument that Groubert was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder during the shooting.
"The biggest thing I told them, straight up, i never in my entire life seen all the racism in my life until I moved to South Carolina," Groubert said. "Even up in Ohio, even if you go into the projects, predominantly minority and blacks, they don't have that chip on their shoulder like we owe them something like they do down here."
The woman replies, "because we don't bow down to them," to which Groubert replies, "yeah."
The context leading up to the remark is not known.
In a separate audio file, he can be heard complaining about a detention center officer.
Groubert: Yeah, (officer's name) during the day, (officer's name) at night.
Woman: Is (officer's name) cool?
Groubert: Hell no, it's this black b---h. Makes life hell."
Groubert was given credit for serving 17 months. The maximum sentence could have been 20 years.
The former officer did apologize to Jones in court, saying that he made the "biggest mistake of his life" and that Jones did nothing wrong that day.
In an interview with News19 Wednesday, Jones said he felt the punishment given to Groubert was too light. Jones said he wants to move forward by helping others with similar situations get justice and ensuring his community is voting for politicians that will really help address serious issues.
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