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SC Highway Patrol Shooting Is About To Get Interesting …

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SOLICITOR’S “CLEAN SHOT” ASSESSMENT IS CHALLENGED … 

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear right out of the gate: Primary seat belt enforcement is exactly what we said it was four years ago, “an excuse for the cops to pull you over.”

Or in this case, shoot you …

Last week, 35-year-old Levar Edward Jones of Columbia, S.C. – the assistant manager at a local Subway restaurant – pulled his car into a Circle K convenience store on Broad River Road (which for those of you not familiar with South Carolina’s state capital is not exactly the best neighborhood in town).

Jones – an unarmed black man with no prior criminal record – was minding his business.

Unfortunately for him, Lance Corporal Sean M. Groubert of the S.C. Highway Patrol – who was pulling out of the convenience store as Jones was pulling in – observed that Jones was not wearing his seat belt.

Obviously at this point, in a free (and rational) society, Jones should have been permitted to continue about his business.  And Groubert should have, in the local parlance, “kept on truckin’.”

That’s not what happened, though.

Thanks to South Carolina’s primary enforcement law (championed by the liberal mainstream media), Groubert swung his patrol car back into the Circle K parking lot and attempted to detain Jones, who at this point had already exited his vehicle and was walking into the store.

He never made it …

Instructed by Groubert to produce his identification, Jones reportedly reached for his back pocket only to find he had left his wallet in his vehicle.  When he reached into his car to retrieve it, that’s when Groubert (who is white) is said to have opened fire – hitting Jones once in the thigh and striking his vehicle four times.

Wow …

Thankfully, Jones did not sustain serious injuries and is expected to make a full recovery.

Senior officials at the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) who have viewed the dash cam video from Groubert’s car (and the Circle K’s surveillance video) as part of an investigation into the incident tell FITS “there’s a problem.”  Meanwhile senior officials at South Carolina’s fifth circuit solicitor’s office – which has jurisdiction in this case – tell FITS the shooting was “clearly unjustified under the circumstances.”

Unfortunately for them, their boss – solicitor Dan Johnson – doesn’t agree.

Johnson – who reviewed the recordings over the weekend – told SLED Chief Mark Keel that he believed Groubert’s use of force was warranted, describing the incident as a “clean shot.”

Maybe Johnson is right.  We haven’t seen the available “video replays” yet, and as one of our law enforcement sources recently wrote there is something to be said for leaving race out of these discussions (until there’s a credible reason to inject it into the conversation, anyway).

Here’s the thing, though: White cop/ black victim or black cop/ white victim … the fact remains police should not be allowed to pull people over for not wearing their seat belts.

Also, as we’ve said repeatedly in the wake of the Ferguson debacle, all law enforcement officers should be independently wired when they are on duty.

RAPID REACTION

UPDATE: Groubert to be prosecuted for assault …

UPDATE II: Video of the incident …

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