Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A former South Carolina state trooper explains why he says he shot an unarmed man in a newly released video, the first public accounting of his version of the events.
The tape was disseminated late Friday by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, the agency over the highway patrol, following a Freedom of Information Act request. The video is an extended version of the dash cam recording from 31-year-old Sean Groubert's patrol car that was released earlier this week.
Groubert is charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for shooting 35-year-old Levar Jones following a seat belt violation stop on September 4th at a gas station on Broad River Road in Columbia.
This new version of the video is 51 minutes long, compared to the three minute clip released earlier, and shows not only the shooting, but records a radio call made by Groubert from his vehicle to what appears to be a supervisor.
"I pulled him over for a seat belt violation," Groubert can be heard saying on the tape. "Before I could event get out of my car he jumped out, stared at me, and as I jumped out of my car and identified myself, as I approached him, he jumped head-first back into his car."
"I started retracting back towards the rear of his vehicle telling him 'Look, get out of the car, let me see your hands. He jumped out of the car. I saw something black in his hands. I ran to the other side car yelling at him, and he kept coming towards me. Apparently it was his wallet."
In the earlier segment, which showed the shooting itself, Jones can be seen getting out of his car when Groubert pulls up and asks for his license. Jones reaches into his car for his license, and as he does, Groubert begins yelling at Jones and fires several shots.
While shooting at Jones, Groubert can be heard yelling, "Get out of the car, get out of the car."
After the shooting, Jones said, "I just got my license, you said get my license." Groubert responded by telling Jones to get on the ground.
Groubert can be heard asking Jones if he was hit by a bullet, and said, "Bro, you dove head first back into your car."
South Carolina Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith fired Groubert September 19th because he said the ex-trooper violated policy during the stop, calling the facts of the case "disturbing."
"[Groubert] reacted to a perceived threat when there was none," Smith said in a statement.
In a bond hearing Wednesday, Groubert's attorney, Barney Giese, said Groubert was justified in the shooting, and is not guilty of the charges against him.
On "CBS This Morning," however, Jones's attorney, Todd Rutherford, said that the video speaks for itself and shows Groubert overreacting. "[Groubert] almost took the life of my client, Mr. Jones, and he needs to pay for it."
Groubert is currently free on bond.