State Watch

White Army drill sergeant charged after confronting Black man for walking in neighborhood

A white noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army was charged on Wednesday with third-degree assault after he was seen in a viral video shoving a Black man and telling him, “You’re in the wrong neighborhood.”

The Associated Press reported that Jonathan Pentland, 42, was detained in the Richland County jail in South Carolina on Wednesday.

In the video that was originally posted to Facebook on Monday, Pentland can be seen walking close behind a Black man. When asked what he is doing in the neighborhood, the Black man says he is “walking,” and Pentland responds, “Let’s go. Walk away.”

“You’re in the wrong neighborhood,” Pentland can be heard saying in the video. “I ain’t playing with you. … I’m about to show you what I can do.”

Pentland demands to know where the other man lives and accuses him of “harassing the neighborhood.” When the Black man responds to a woman Pentland identifies as his wife, Pentland shoves him.

As the AP reported, the woman who originally posted the video, Shirell Johnson, said that when authorities arrived on the scene, Pentland was given a citation for malicious injury to property for slapping the other man’s phone out his hand.

Social media accounts have connected Pentland to Fort Jackson in South Carolina, where he has been reportedly stationed since 2019, working as a drill sergeant at the garrison.

In a statement on Twitter, Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr. said, “The leaders at Fort Jackson in no way condone the behavior depicted in the video posted recently.”

Fort Jackson stated that the Department of Justice is looking into the incident and confirmed that Pentland has been charged.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott did not disclose the other man’s identity during a news conference, the AP reported, but confirmed that he is not a juvenile. He stated that the man had been involved in other incidents in the neighborhood before the video but said that “none of them justified the assault that occurred.”

Videos on social media appeared to show protesters demonstrating outside Pentland’s house. The gathered crowd chanted, “We will make racist people uncomfortable.”

–Updated on April 15 at 5:16 a.m.


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