SC trooper fired for shooting black motorist charged with assault

A police car with lights ablaze responds to a call. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty)
A police car with lights ablaze responds to a call.

A South Carolina police officer was arrested Wednesday and charged with aggravated assault over his response to a routine stop at a gas station earlier this month, The State newspaper reported.

The incident was recorded on what appeared to be the officer’s dashboard camera.

The cop, South Carolina State Trooper Sean Groubert, who is white, stopped Levar Jones, who is black, for a seat belt violation on Sept. 4 near Columbia, S.C., according to the report. When Jones reached into his vehicle to grab his ID, Groubert suddenly fired several gunshots at him, the video allegedly showed.  

“Get out of the car! Get out of the car!” Groubert could be heard shouting before firing off several rounds. After the shots were fired, Groubert told the man to drop to the ground.

“What did I do, sir?” Jones asked the officer after being shot.

Groubert was fired from the force last week after an investigation into the incident by the State Law Enforcement Division, WLTX-TV reported. He reportedly could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

Jones was shot in the hip and was treated at a hospital, according to The State.

The issue of police tactics has come under national scrutiny in the wake of the police shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown last month in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown's death set off a string of protests, and authorities responded to the unrest with heavy-handed police tactics.