Details of a settlement involving South Carolina and a Columbia man shot by a Highway Patrol trooper last year have now been made public.
South Carolina’s Insurance Reserve Fund paid $285,000 to Levar Jones, who was shot by state Trooper Sean Groubert during a traffic stop on September 4. The fund’s spokesman Scott Hawkins said the settlement was reached on October 3, but not revealed until all parties had been paid.
The Highway Patrol fired Groubert on September 25. The state Department of Public Safety said the trooper used too much force and broke several agency standards. Following the incident, he was charged with assault and battery. If found guilty, he could spend up to 20 years in prison. A spokeswoman for the 5th Circuit prosecutor’s office said the trial date has not been set.
The shooting of an unarmed black male by a white officer got national attention during a time of heightened public sensitivity for police-involved shootings. The shooting was recorded on the dashboard camera of Groubert’s patrol car.
The video shows the trooper pulling Jones over at a Circle K gas station for not wearing his seat belt. The video then shows Groubert asking Jones for his driver’s license and Jones reaching into his car to retrieve it. Groubert then appears to believe that Jones, who had turned quickly, was reaching for a weapon. The trooper fired four bullets at Jones within five seconds. One bullet struck Jones in the hip. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Jeremy Urso contributed to this report