Sheriff speaks out on U.S. Army soldier Jonathan Pentland after arrest: ‘We won’t tolerate bullies in our community’

Authorities in South Carolina have charged U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jonathan Pentland, 42, with misdemeanor assault after he was seen in a viral video shoving and threatening a Black man who was walking through his neighborhood.

“We gave the facts of the case that we have and the evidence we have to the solicitor’s office, and also presented to a magistrate, and that’s who determined what charge would be brought,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said during a press conference on Wednesday.

Lott said it was “the fact that [Pentland] put his hands on somebody” that led to the misdemeanor charge.

The video starts out with Pentland confronting the man, identified as “Deandre, on the sidewalk.

“What is it that you are doing here?” Pentland aggressively asks the man identified as Deandre.

“Walking.” Deandre replies.

“Then walk,” Pentland fires back.

Deandre then tells Pentland that he’s walking back to his house.

“Well you’ve been here like 15 minutes now … Walk away,” Pentland says. “Walk away right now. You need help? I’m happy to help.”

At the press conference this Wednesday, Sheriff Lott said that the “disturbing video” is not something he’s going to tolerate in his community.

“We’re not gonna let people be bullies in our community, and if you are, you’re gonna answer for it,” Lott said. “And that’s what we’ve done in this case.”

According to The Washington Post, the Sheriff’s Office says that Deandre has “an underlying medical condition that may explain the behavior exhibited in the alleged incidents.”

“On April 8, one incident report says [Deandre] allegedly put his arm around a woman’s waist, put his hand down the right side of her shorts and then put his arm back around her waist as her pants were partly down,” the Post’s Hannah Knowles and Meryl Kornfield report. “On April 10, another report alleges the man repeatedly picked up a baby without permission and tried to walk away.”

Watch the video below:

This article was updated on 4/17/21 to reflect additional information.

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