COLUMBIA, S.C. – Officials say a former South Carolina state trooper is charged with a felony in the shooting of an unarmed man during a traffic stop earlier this month.
The State Law Enforcement Division said in a news release that 31-year-old Sean Groubert was charged Wednesday with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Authorities say Groubert stopped a driver in Columbia for a seat belt violation on Sept. 4. The man got out of his car, and investigators say the trooper shot him as he reached back into his vehicle. Groubert was fired last week.
Prosecutors released video of the traffic stop that shows the trooper asking the driver for his license, then firing several shots as the man reaches back into his vehicle.
The man then screams, “What did I do?” and tells the trooper he was just trying to get his license.
Groubert, who was fired after the shooting, said he shot the man because he was reaching back into his car.
The video shows Groubert firing repeatedly at Jones, who was not armed and who was not behaving aggressively. Jones was struck at least once, in the hip. He spent time in the hospital and is now out of the hospital recuperating.