White soldier charged with assault for shoving, berating Black man in viral video

Jonathan Pentland is a soldier at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.

According to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, a white active-duty soldier who was seen in a viral video berating and shoving a Black man in a South Carolina neighborhood has been charged with third-degree assault and battery.

“The first time I saw the video, it was terrible,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said at a press conference Wednesday evening. “It was unnecessary. It was a bad video — young man was the victim, the individual that was arrested was the aggressor, and he’s been dealt with accordingly.”

Jonathan Pentland, a U.S. Army soldier stationed at Fort Jackson, was arrested on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. and booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. Pentland faces a $500 fine and 30 days in jail if found guilty.

According to officials, the incident occurred on Monday. At the time, police were called and dispatched to the area.

The man, identified as Pentland, is seen in the video confronting a Black man walking down the sidewalk and yelling at him to leave the neighborhood known as The Summit in Columbia, South Carolina.

Pentland, 42, shoves the victim and yells and curses at him: “You better start walking right now. You’re in the wrong neighborhood, m—–f—–. Get out!”

The victim protests, saying he did nothing wrong, and is followed by the suspect who continues berating him.

“The leaders at Fort Jackson in no way condone the behavior depicted in the video posted recently,” Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr., Fort Jackson’s commander, said in a statement. “This action deeply impacts our community — the neighbors in the Summit, the city of Columbia, Richland & Lexington counties, and our Army family.”

“I ask that our communities and leaders exercise a degree of patience, affording Sherriff Lott and law enforcement investigators to account for the full measure of events before, during, and after the incident that was recorded,” the statement added.

According to the sheriff’s department, the victim “approached several neighbors in a threatening manner and the confrontation escalated after a neighbor asked Pentland to intervene.”

The sheriff said an unspecified underlying medical condition might have led to the victim approaching the neighbors.

Lott and Beagle said the Department of Justice is also looking into the incident.

The sheriff did not confirm the identity of the victim, but confirmed the Black man who was accosted is not a juvenile.

Lott said once the video ended, Pentland also shoved the victim again and knocked his phone out of his hand when he tried to take a picture.

“The message I want to give is that when something like that happens, the sheriff’s department is going to act very swiftly and we’re going to hold those responsible for those [incidents] accountable,” Lott said. “We’re not going to let people be bullies in our community. And if you are, you’re going to answer for it. And that’s what we’ve done in this case.”

Community leaders, activists, witnesses and the victim’s father were interviewed by the sheriff’s department during the investigation.

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