Sean Groubert, the South Carolina state trooper who shot Levar Jones in September during a routine traffic stop, is claiming that Jones was the aggressor.
Footage from the police car dash cam shows Groubert pulling over Jones for a seatbelt violation. Jones reaches to grab his wallet, per Groubert’s instructions, but is then shot by the officer. Yet Groubert claims that things happened much differently.
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 was fired and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. He is face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Groubert’s lawyer claims that the shooting was justified because his client felt he was in danger. He entered a plea of not guilty.
Jones is still recovering from his injuries.
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