Video of soldier attacking Black resident for being in ‘wrong neighbourhood’ sparks protests and online fury

Harriet Brewis
Thursday 15 April 2021 10:56
news

A video of an army sergeant aggressively accosting a Black man has sent shockwaves across social media.

Jonathan Pentland, 42, was filmed ordering the young man to “walk away” from the neighbourhood before threatening him and then violently pushing him.

Throughout the three-minute video, the army officer continuously demands that the other man explain his presence in the “tight-knit community”, while telling him: “You’re in the wrong neighbourhood.”

When the victim responds that he’s simply walking through, and lives in the area, Pentland refuses to believe him.

“You better walk away or I’m gonna carry your a** out of here,” he says, adding: “I’m about to do something to you.”

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Meanwhile, Pentland’s wife – whose voice can be heard in the background – has the audacity to tell the Black man he’s “the aggressor”.

Footage of the incident, which was posted by a woman on Facebook on Monday, swiftly prompted protests outside Pentland’s home in South Carolina:

A crowd of peaceful demonstrators surrounded the property demanding justice and saying they just wanted to talk to “understand some things”:

Passions did fly, however, with a window and light smashed at Pentland’s home by one or more activists:

Meanwhile, scores of Twitter users expressed their horror at the encounter as they called for “some accountability”:

Pentland has now been charged with third-degree assault and is being held at the Richland County jail.

Here’s the moment he was led away from his home by police:

According to social media accounts connected to Pentland, he has been stationed at Fort Jackson since 2019 and has worked as a drill sergeant at the garrison – a 53,000-acre complex that trains 50 per cent of all soldiers and 60 per cent of women who enter the Army each year.

Asked on Twitter for his response to the video, Fort Jackson Commanding Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. said the sergeant’s behaviour was “by no means condoned by any service member.”

“We will get to the bottom of this ASAP,” he added.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said the victim in the video was not aged under-18 but declined to release his name.

Lott said that man had been involved in other incidents in the neighborhood in the days leading up to the video but said that “none of them justified the assault that occurred.”

If Pentland is convicted, he faces up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

A mugshot of Jonathan Pentland

(AP)

State Senator Mia McLeod, who represents the area, told the Senate floor on Wednesday that she had spent much of the previous day in discussions over the incident and planned to meet with the sheriff later in the day.

“My sons have a freaking right to live,” said McLeod, who is Black.

“Another unarmed Black man could be dead today because he was walking in a neighborhood that, I am told, is adjacent to his, doing absolutely nothing.”

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