Soldier charged with assault after confronting Black man for being in ‘wrong neighborhood’

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — A soldier stationed at Fort Jackson in South Carolina has been charged with misdemeanor assault after video circulated showing a white man berating a Black man walking inside a Richland County subdivision.

Jonathan Pentland, 42, was charged with third-degree assault and battery on Wednesday linked to the two-minute video clip shared widely across social media since Tuesday. The clip, which shows a white man shouting at a Black man on a sidewalk in the northeast Richland community, does not include the beginning or end of the hostile exchange.

WARNING: This video clip contains strong profanity.

The Post and Courier offered the following summation of the clip:

“Go away, right now,” the white man says. “What is it you’re doing here?”

The Black man says he was walking and suggested the white man call police. A woman not seen on camera says officers have been called.

“You’re aggressing on our neighborhood,” the white man says, shoving the Black man. “You better walk away, or I’m going to carry your (expletive) out of here.”

“I didn’t do anything,” the Black man says.

“I’m about to do something to you,” the white man says. “You better start walking.”

Then the white man and the Black man trade accusations over who started the argument.

“You’re in the wrong neighborhood, (expletive),” the white man shouts. “Get out. Get out.”

The white man said the Black man was “harassing the neighborhood.” The Black man says he lives in the neighborhood but does not answer questions asking where.

“Check it out, we are a tight-knit community,” the white man says. “We take care of each other.”

Online records obtained by The Post and Courier confirmed Pentland is a sergeant in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Jackson. He was released Wednesday without posting bond, and the charge is punishable by a fine of up to $500 or 30 days in jail, the newspaper reported, citing the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

During a Wednesday news conference at the subdivision, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott called the confrontation “disturbing” and “unnecessary,” the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, the leadership at Fort Jackson confirmed that the U.S. Department of Justice is also investigating the confrontation.

“The leaders at Fort Jackson in no way condone the behavior depicted in the video posted recently,” Fort Jackson Cmdr. Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle said in a statement. “This action deeply impacts our community — the neighbors in the Summit, the city of Columbia, Richland and Lexington counties, and our Army family.”

According to the sheriff’s department, the Pentland family was extracted from their home Wednesday night after peaceful protests turned “disruptive,” WLTX reported.

Deputies told the TV station that they were called to the soldier’s home around 8:20 p.m. after unknown protesters vandalized it, throwing objects that broke at least one light fixture attached to the home and an upstairs window.

In an incident report related to the initial Monday confrontation, recorded and distributed publicly on Tuesday, Pentland told deputies that he acted out of fear for him and his wife, The Post and Courier reported.

Shadae McCallum, who lives in the neighborhood and shot the video of the confrontation, told the newspaper that while on a Monday walk she saw a Black man being confronted by women who accused him of harassing their daughters.

McCallum said that she began recording the video after a white man came out from a house and quickly became irate. She told the newspaper that she stopped recording after two Black women began walking the Black man away from the area, believing the situation had been defused, but then the white man followed the Black man down the sidewalk, slapped the phone from the Black man’s hand and stepped on it.

Pentland confirmed to deputies that he slapped the phone away from the Black man and pushed him, according to the incident report.

Lott, who did not mention any racial component to the confrontation, confirmed that Pentland was charged with assault because he “put his hands” on the victim, The Post and Courier reported.


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