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'You’re In The Wrong Neighborhood:' Army Sgt. Arrested After Video Of Racial Encounter Surfaces

“You need to walk away or I’m going to carry your a-- out of here,” Sgt. Jonathan Pentland told a young Black man he allegedly confronted on April 12.

By Dorian Geiger
Facts about Racial Profiling and Discrimination

An Army sergeant was arrested this week after video of an encounter in which he aggressively confronted a young Black man walking by his home in Columbia, South Carolina went viral. 

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jonathan Pentland was charged with third-degree assault and battery following the April 12 incident, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Office.

A nearly three-minute video of the altercation, uploaded to Facebook this week, shows Pentland unleashing a torrent of expletives on an unidentified Black man who he confronted near his home in Columbia. 

“What are you doing here?” Pentland questions him in the video’s opening seconds.

The man calmly explains to Pentland he’s “walking.”

Seconds later, Pentland appeared to lose his temper and shove the man.

“You need to walk away or I’m going to carry your a-- out of here,” Pentland tells him. “You’re in the wrong neighborhood motherfu--er." 

Deputies later arrived on-scene after reports of a “physical dispute,” according to a police report, the Washington Post reported. Pentland told authorities he’d pushed the individual because he feared “for his safety and the safety of his wife."

Jonathan Pentland Ap

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott described Pentland’s alleged actions as “terrible” during a press conference on Wednesday. 

“The first time I saw the video it was terrible,” Lott told reporters. “It was unnecessary. It was a bad video. The young man was a victim.” 

The county sheriff said the army sergeant would be “dealt with accordingly.”

"There was some other things that occurred that really doesn't justify [his] actions,” Lott added.

Two other individuals also asked to file police reports against the victim at the scene of the encounter related to separate incidents that occurred last week, court documents state. 

"Those incidents are each being investigated independently,” the sheriff’s department said in a news release. "The victim has an underlying medical condition that may explain the behavior exhibited in the alleged incidents. RCSD is actively working to get him the help that he needs in an attempt to divert him from the criminal justice system."

Pentland was previously stationed at Fort Jackson military base in Columbia. Military officials there condemned Pentland’s actions in a statement this week.

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

Fort Jackson is working “closely” with investigators, Beagle said.

"I remain deeply concerned for the members of our Army family, the young man and his family, and the tensions that activities like this amplify over time; please be patient as facts are determined," he added.

The Department of Justice is also investigating the incident, military officials. 

Protesters from South Carolina have since descended on Pentland’s home in the Summit neighborhood of Columbia.

If convicted, Pentland faces up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail, according to county authorities.

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