A former state Highway Patrol trooper who was fired last week for shooting an unarmed driver during a traffic stop is now facing felony charges.
Former Lance Cpl. Sean Groubert was charged Wednesday with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. The charges come from a September 4 incident, when Groubert stopped 35-year-old Levar Jones for a seatbelt violation in northwest Columbia. The State Law Enforcement Division said Groubert shot Jones in the hip as the driver reached back into his vehicle. The victim was unarmed.
Jones was taken to a nearby hospital and was eventually released.
The state Department of Public Safety had released very little information about the shooting before Wednesday. DPS Director Leroy Smith said Groubert was fired last week. Smith said the video showed the trooper had “reacted to a perceived threat where there was none.” The director called the details of the shooting “disturbing.”
Dashboard video of the incident has not been made public. (UPDATE: DPS released the video Wednesday night. The State newspaper has posted the video to YouTube. WARNING: GRAPHIC)
SLED said the evidence in the case has been turned over to the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office.