Soldier Found Guilty Of Assault After Shoving Black Man For ‘Being In Wrong Neighbourhood’
A soldier has been found guilty of third-degree assault and battery after he shoved a young Black man and told him he was ‘in the wrong neighbourhood’.
Footage of the incident taken in April showed Jonathan Pentland, a sergeant first class, repeatedly telling 22-year-old Deandre Williams to ‘walk away’ after he was seen walking through the streets of Pentland’s neighbourhood in South Carolina.
The video quickly went viral as the person behind the camera said they filmed it ‘in order to protect this Black man from possibly becoming a statistic’. Pentland was suspended of his Army instructor duties and charged with third-degree assault before being found guilty on Monday, August 23, after a two-day trial.
Speaking at the trial, the soldier said the encounter with Williams unfolded after a neighbour banged on his door and asked for help, according to WIS News. The neighbour allegedly claimed Williams had been bothering her daughter and grandson, though Williams reportedly stated he ‘minded his own business before Pentland approached him’.
When Williams told Pentland he ‘did not do anything’, Pentland responded: ‘I am about to do something to you. You better start walking. You’re in the wrong neighbourhood m*therf*cker. Get out.’
See the footage below:
The judge in Richland County, South Carolina ordered Pentland to pay a $1,087 fine or spend 30 days in jail for the misdemeanour charge, though the soldier’s attorney, Benjamin Stitely, has said he is looking to challenge the decision.
In a statement, Stitely said:
We are of course disappointed with the judge’s decision and are looking into further pursuing legal remedies to challenge the decision.
As quoted in several of the local media outlets, Mr. Pentland stands by his right to defend his family and home from a genuine treat [sic] and is deeply hurt by the situation.
The attorney went on to claim there had been a ‘lack of investigation into the background factors regarding Mr. Williams’ actions leading up to the small portion of the encounter captured in the viral video’, CNN reports.
Following the incident in April, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said Williams had been involved in two incidents previously reported to deputies, one of which allegedly involved him touching a woman without consent while the other claims he picked up a baby without permission.
The police department claimed Williams has an ‘underlying medical condition that may explain the behaviour exhibited in the alleged incidents’.
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