A white Army non-commissioned officer depicted in a viral video accosting and shoving a Black man in a South Carolina neighbourhood has been charged with third-degree assault. Jonathan Pentland, 42, was charged Wednesday and listed as detained in the Richland County jail and issued a personal recognizance bond, according to online jail records, which did not show him as having an attorney.
The video, posted Monday by a woman on Facebook and shared thousands of times, shows a man, identified as Pentland, demanding that a Black man leave the neighborhood before threatening him with physical violence. “You’re in the wrong neighborhood,” Pentland, standing on the sidewalk, can be heard saying to the other man before using an expletive. “I ain’t playing with you. … I’m about to show you what I can do.”
According to Shirell Johnson, who posted the video, the incident happened in a subdivision of The Summit, which has a Columbia address but is technically outside the city’s limits. The video does not show what started the conflict. Johnson did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking further details.
The recording begins with Pentland, a U.S. Army sergeant first class, asking the Black man what he’s doing in the area. The Black man says he was simply walking and not bothering anyone.
Throughout the three-minute video, Pentland continuously demands that the other man leave the neighborhood, getting in his face and, at one point, pushing the man, who almost falls to the ground. “Let’s go, walk away,” he said. “I’m about to do something to you. You better start walking right now.”
At the end of the video, a woman who Pentland identifies as his wife can be heard telling the other man that he had picked a fight with “some random young lady” in the neighborhood, a claim the Black man then denies.
Johnson said authorities arrived at the scene and only gave Pentland a citation for malicious injury to property for slapping the man’s phone out of his hand and cracking it.
Officials at Fort Jackson, the US Army’s largest basic training facility, said Wednesday they were looking into the incident. On one of its Twitter accounts, base officials also said that U.S. Department of Justice authorities were investigating as well.
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.