Levar Jones Shooting: Ex-Trooper Found Guilty

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A white former state trooper pleaded guilty Monday to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for the 2014 shooting of an unarmed Black driver seconds after a traffic stop.

Ex-Trooper Sean Groubert, 32, who is facing up to 20 years in prison, was led out of a South Carolina courtroom in handcuffs after Circuit Judge Casey said he wanted to think about Groubert’s punishment.

Dash-cam video of the incident shows Levar Jones walking into a convenience store in Sept. 2014 when Groubert gets out of his patrol vehicle and demands Jones’ driver’s license.

Jones turns back to reach into his car and Groubert fires four shots. Jones’ wallet is seen flying out of his hands.

Jones was shot in the hip and survived. He walked into the courtroom Monday with a noticeable limp and played with a Rubik’s Cube before the hearing started.

Groubert’s boss, state Public Safety Director Leroy Smith, fired Groubert after seeing the video.

Video of the encounter was played during the hearing and showed Groubert pulling up to Jones without his siren on, and the trooper asking Jones for his license after he also was out of his car.

As Jones turns and reaches back into his car, Groubert shouts, “Get outta the car, get outta the car.” He begins firing and unloads a third shot as Jones staggers away, backing up with his hands raised, and then a fourth.
From the first shot to the fourth, the video clicks off three seconds.

When Jones heard the gunfire in the courtroom video, his shoulders jerked.

In the video, Jones cried in pain waiting for an ambulance and repeated: “Why did you shoot me?”

Through Jones’ painful groans, Groubert replied: “Well, you dove head first back into your car.”

No sentencing date has been set for Groubert.