A Fort Jackson drill sergeant was arrested after assaulting a Black man in The Summit neighborhood in northeast Richland County.
Jonathan Pentland, a white 42-year-old Army sergeant, accosted and shoved a Black man who was walking through the neighborhood. The man, identified only as Deandre, is also a resident of the neighborhood.
In a video that quickly went viral on social media last Monday, Pentland aggressively screamed and cursed at Deandre, telling him that he was “in the wrong neighborhood” and threatening him with physical harm. He repeatedly told Deandre to leave the neighborhood before shoving him and knocking Deandre’s cell phone out of his hand.
When Richland County deputies arrived on the scene, they gave Pentland a citation for malicious injury to property for cracking Deandre’s phone.
After the video of the incident went viral, a large group of protestors surrounded Pentland’s house demanding that he be charged with assault. After Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott reviewed the video, Pentland was arrested and charged with assault on Wednesday.
“The first time I saw the video, it was terrible. It was unnecessary,” Lott said.
Pentland was released on a personal recognizance bond.
On Thursday, Fort Jackson suspended Pentland from his duties.
“Pentland has been suspended from instructor duties pending the completion of the investigation and outcome of the criminal charges,” Fort Jackson officials said through its social media account.
“Soldier conduct on and off duty must be exemplary to retain the trust of our communities and our nation,” added Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle. “Fort Jackson continues to work with and support Sheriff Lott, our local law enforcement professionals, and community & civil leadership as this case moves forward.”
If convicted of the third-degree assault charge, Pentland could be sentenced up to 30 days in jail and fined $500.