If It Weren’t For the Dashcam, Would This White Cop Be Punished for Shooting An Unarmed Black Man?


A white South Carolina state trooper is facing up to 20 years in prison after shooting an unarmed black man who was attempting to grab his driver’s license during a simple seatbelt check.

The disturbing incident occurred on September 4 and was caught on video thanks to a dashcam attached to officer Sean Groubert’s vehicle.

In the graphic video, Groubert is seen approaching Levar Jones at a local gas station, where he asks Jones to retrieve his driver’s license.

Jones reaches into the car and Groubert suddenly opens fire, shooting him not once, but four times, as Jones puts his hands in the air and falls to the pavement.

“Get on the ground! Get on the ground!”

“I was doing what you told me to do,” Jones can be heard saying. “I was getting my license!’

Jones survived with wounds to the hip. Groubert was arrested Wednesday and charged with aggravated assault.

The latest shooting, which follows mounting evidence police officers shoot black people at a higher rate than white people, comes as police departments around the country face increased pressure to outfit officers with recording technology such as dashcams and bodycams.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at least 60 percent of local police departments use dashcams. This latest incident will surely add to those calls for accountability. As Josh Marshall at TPM asks, “Would Groubert have lost his badge and be facing charges had there not been a dashcam video revealing the reality of what happened?” A justified question, considering law enforcement officials are rarely sentenced or convicted in such shootings. 

For a more detailed look into racially motivated shootings by police, click here.