COLUMBIA — Prosecutors are now seeking to revoke bond for a former South Carolina trooper charged with shooting an unarmed man after his arrest on a new shoplifting charge.
Sean Groubert, 32, and his wife, 23-year-old Morgan Groubert, were arrested last month at a Walmart in Columbia, Richland County deputies said Monday in a news release. According to an incident report, the couple altered price tags on their merchandise, paid around $30 at a self-checkout kiosk, and tried to leave the store without paying about $100 of what was actually owed.
Both were released from jail the night of their arrests on personal recognizance bonds, according to court records. A day later, prosecutors in Richland County moved to revoke Sean Groubert’s bond on his September 2014 arrest for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison.
Groubert’s attorney on the assault charge did not immediately return a message Monday. Court records didn’t list attorneys for the couple on the shoplifting charge.
Last fall, authorities released a video of the then-Highway Patrol trooper shooting an unarmed driver just seconds after he was stopped for a seatbelt offense.
As Levar Jones cried in pain waiting for an ambulance, he repeated one question: “Why did you shoot me?”
Jones’ painful groans and Groubert’s reply – “Well you dove head first back into your car” – were captured by the camera.
The video from Groubert’s dashboard shows the shooting happened as Jones reached back into his truck to get his license.
Groubert’s boss, state Public Safety Director Leroy Smith, called the video “disturbing” and fired the trooper, saying that “Groubert reacted to a perceived threat where there was none.” After his arrest, Groubert’s attorney said the shooting was justified because the trooper feared for his life and the safety of others.
Jones was injured but is recovering. South Carolina’s Insurance Reserve Fund has agreed to pay him $285,000.