White soldier charged in Columbia SC incident with Black man

 White soldier charged in Columbia SC incident with Black man

A white Fort Jackson soldier seen in a video pushing and yelling at a young Black man in a northeast Columbia neighborhood has been criminally charged, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

The incident took place in the Summit neighborhood, a sprawling community located between Clemson and Hardscrabble roads.

At an evening news conference, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott identified the man charged as Jonathan Pentland, 42. Deputies charged him with third-degree assault and battery.

Investigators brought the case to the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office and a judge to determine the charge, Lott said.

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

In a statement, Fort Jackson spokesperson L.A. Sully said that the U.S. Department of Justice is also looking into the incident.

Fort Jackson Commander General Milford Beagle Jr. said, “The leaders at Fort Jackson in no way condone the behavior depicted in the video posted recently.”

“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.”

Other issues occurred before the moment that was caught on video but none of that justified the aggressive actions, according to Lott.

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

Lott said that Pentland putting his hands on the person led to the charge.

About two dozen protesters gathered in the Summit neighborhood Wednesday at about noon. Lott said protesters were present as of Wednesday evening and that deputies will support peaceful protests.

“I hope by the community knowing what happened, that the suspect was arrested, that the community can step back a little and say what can we do to work together.”

Pentland was jailed Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center where he had a bond hearing, according to jail records.

Third degree assault and battery is a misdemeanor punishable with a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.


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David Travis Bland won the SC Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. He joined The State in 2018. He writes about crime, law enforcement and the criminal justice system. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2010.
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