US Army suspends white soldier charged in Black man’s assault

 US Army suspends white soldier charged in Black man’s assault

A Fort Jackson sergeant has been suspended from his instructor duties at the Army installation after being charged in the assault of a young Black man that was captured on a widely shared video, according to base officials.

“Soldier conduct on and off duty must be exemplary to retain the trust of our communities and our nation,” Fort Jackson Commanding General Milford Beagle Jr. said. “Fort Jackson continues to work with and support Sheriff (Leon) Lott, our local law enforcement professionals, and community and civil leadership as this case moves forward.”

Jonathan Pentland, a sergeant 1st class, will remain suspended until all investigations are complete and the criminal charges are adjudicated, Fort Jackson spokesperson L.A. Sully said.

The video, which has gained national attention, shows Pentland interrogating the Black man about what he is doing in the Columbia neighborhood and then repeatedly telling him to leave, police said. He pushes the Black man at one point.

On Wednesday, the 42-year-old Pentland was charged with third-degree assault and battery, Richland County court records show.

“It was terrible. It was unnecessary,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said. “The young man was a victim. The man we arrested was the aggressor.”

After being booked at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on the assault charge, Pentland was released on a $2,125 personal recognizance bond, court records show. A condition of his release is that he avoid all contact with the victim, and Pentland must stay 1,000 yards from the victim’s place of work, home, school or place of! worship, according to court records.

If convicted on the misdemeanor assault charge, Pentland could face a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, according to South Carolina law.

Prior to the charges against Pentland being made public, officials at Fort Jackson said the U.S. Army had begun its own investigation into the incident.

“The leaders at Fort Jackson in no way condone the behavior depicted in the video posted recently,” Beagle said in a statement Wednesday.

“This action deeply impacts our community — the neighbors in the Summit, the city of Columbia, Richland & Lexington counties, and our Army family,” he said. “I ask that our communities and leaders exercise a degree of patience, affording Sherriff Lott and law enforcement investigators to account for the full measure of events before, during, and after the incident that was recorded.”

Pentland has been stationed at Fort Jackson since 2019, where he has worked as a drill sergeant, the Associated Press reported.

Fort Jackson is the Army’s largest training installation, with more than 50,000 recruits assigned there each year.


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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State focused on breaking news, public safety and trending news. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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