Ear Hustle

South Carolina Officer Who Shot Unarmed Levar Jones During Traffic Stop Tells His Version Of What Occurred


New audio has a white South Carolina state trooper telling a very different version of the events surrounding his shooting of an unarmed African-American man as the man reached into his car to retrieve his wallet.

Video footage recorded on now-fired State Trooper Sean Groubert’s dash cam Sept. 4 shows Levar Jones, 35, reaching inside his car to get his license, per Groubert’s request, when Groubert shoots him.

Audio released Tuesday by MSNBC has Groubert, 31, telling a very different version of what happened: “I pulled him over for a seat belt violation. Before I could even get out of my car he jumped out, stared at me, and as I jumped out of my car and identified myself, as I approached him, he jumped headfirst into his car,” Groubert can be heard saying to his supervisor.

“I started retracting back towards the rear of his vehicle, telling him, ‘Look, get out of the car, let me see your hands.’ He jumped out of the car. I saw something black in his hands. I ran to the other side of the car, yelling at him, and he kept coming towards me. Apparently it was his wallet.”

Groubert has been fired and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison. Groubert has pleaded not guilty, with his lawyer claiming that the shooting was justified because Groubert felt he was in danger.

In the meantime, a lawyer for Jones says that his client was handcuffed for hours after the shooting and was not uncuffed until an officer remembered that he was without his cuffs and went back to the hospital to retrieve them.

Todd Rutherford, who is representing Jones, told MSNBC that his client was handcuffed after the shooting and then handcuffed to a gurney after being taken to the hospital, and that he remained that way until almost midnight, even though he had done nothing wrong.

Rutherford told MSNBC that Jones is walking with a cane and is still recovering from a gunshot to his hip.

Source: The Root

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