Jonathan Pentland is a U.S. Army sergeant first class who is being investigated over a viral video from Columbia, South Carolina. The 42-year-old Pentland is based at Fort Jackson in Columbia, according to now-deleted photos on his unit’s Facebook page. The video showing Pentland pushing a young Black male was recorded on Monday, April 12, 2021.
Pentland was arrested on April 14 and charged with third-degree assault and battery, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. The charge, also known as simple assault, is a misdemeanor with a possible sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500, according to South Carolina state law. Pentland was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center just after 3 p.m., records show. He made his first court appearance a few hours after his arrest and was released on a $2,125 personal recognizance bond, meaning he didn’t have to put any money up. He appeared before Magistrate Phillip Newsom in bond court. His next hearing date hasn’t been set. Pentland was barred from having contact with the victim and must stay 1,000 yards away from him, his home and his place of work, school or worship.
The video, which can be seen below, shows Pentland pushing and yelling at a 22-year-ld Black male, who has only been identified as Deandre, in the Columbia neighborhood where Pentland lives. Pentland can be heard in the video, which was posted on Facebook, telling Deandre to leave the neighborhood and questioning him when he says he also lives there.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department said the victim has an underlying medical condition and the RCSD is working to get him help he needs in order to divert him from the criminal justice system. According to the sheriff’s department, deputies had received two previous reports of incidents involving the victim and people in Pentland’s neighborhood, but he was not charged, and the department said the other incidents didn’t justify Pentland’s actions.
The incident took place on a public sidewalk in the Lakes at Barony Place development in the Summit neighborhood of Columbia, according to the woman who posted it. She said Pentland also broke Deandre’s phone.
After hundreds of Twitter users sent the video to accounts associated with Fort Jackson, many accusing Pentland of displaying racist behavior and asking if the Army condoned it, Fort Jackson Commanding General Milford Beagle Jr. tweeted, “This is by no means condoned by any service member. We will get to the bottom of this ASAP.”
Beagle added on Facebook the next day, “Fort Jackson officials are aware of the video taken in the Summit and it has our full attention. This type of behavior is not consistent with our Army Values and will not be condoned. We have begun our own investigation and are working with the local authorities. Thank you to the community for bringing this to our attention and we will get to the bottom of this ASAP.”
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter on April 14 that Sheriff Leon Lott “will meet with elected officials and reps of various organizations today to discuss the Summit incident. We are aware of the disturbing video and have taken this incident seriously. After the meeting, more information will be released publicly.”
The sheriff’s department added on Facebook, “Sheriff Lott realizes the importance of putting out correct information quickly as there has been a lot of incorrect information distributed through Facebook and other social media. We want to ensure the community knows this incident has been a priority for our Department. The video in itself is very disturbing and has helped tremendously in our investigation. More information will be provided when it becomes available.” Protesters gathered in Pentland’s neighborhood ahead of a scheduled 5 p.m. press conference.
Sheriff Leon Lott said at the press conference that Pentland was arrested at 8:30 a.m. on April 14. He said the deputies did not arrest Pentland Monday night because they did not have enough information and they wanted to investigate further to have a solid case. Lott said, “We are not going to allow bullies in our community. And if you are, you’re going to answer for it.”
Pentland and his wife, Cassie Pentland, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Heavy and it was not immediately clear if they had hired an attorney who could comment on their behalf.
Fort Jackson spokesperson L.A. Sully told the Charleston Post and Courier in a statement, “This type of behavior is not consistent with our Army Values and will not be condoned. We have begun our own investigation and are working with the local authorities.”
Fort Jackson Command Sergeant Major Philson Tavernier said on Twitter after Pentland’s arrest, the “Department of Justice at the federal level is also looking into the incident. … The command team, our Criminal Investigation Division (Army CID) agents, and our Staff Judge Advocate teams are all engaged with their professional counterparts and civil authorities to seek the facts which will determine how the investigations progress.”
Here’s what you need to know about SFC Jonathan Pentland and the viral video:
1. Pentland Can Be Heard in the Video Saying ‘What Is It That You’re Doing Here?,’ ‘You Can Walk Away or I’ll Carry You Out of Here’ & ‘You’re in the Wrong Neighborhood Motherf*****’
Sheriff Leon Lott said there was nothing that happened before the video began or during other incidents in the neighborhood to justify the actions of Jonathan Pentland. He said he was not going to identify the victim because he is a victim. Lott said at the press conference, “It was terrible. It was unnecessary. It was a bad video. The young man was a victim. The individual we arrested was the aggressor.” He said investigators worked with the victim’s father. The victim is not facing charges.
The 3-minute viral video does not show what led to Pentland confronting the young Black male on a sidewalk in his Columbia neighborhood. It starts with Pentland telling Deandre, “Go away right now.” Deandre tells Pentland to call the police and Pentland’s wife, Cassie Pentland, tells him they’ve already been called. The couple can be heard telling Deandre he was “picking fights” with people in the neighborhood.
Pentland then asks him, “What is it that you are doing here?” and Deandre replies, “Walking.” Pentland then says, “Then walk.” Deandre can be heard saying he is walking back to his house, and Pentland’s wife cuts in and says, “Well you’ve been here like 15 minutes now,” and both Pentlands then tell him to keep walking. “Walk away,” Pentland says. “Walk away right now. You need help? I’m happy to help.” Pentland then denies hitting Deandre.
“There’s a difference between pushing you,” Pentland can be heard saying. He then tells him he is “aggressing on the neighborhood,” and then as Deandre begins walking down the sidewalk, Pentland violently shoves him in the shoulder, lifting him off his feet. The Army sergeant first class then says, “You better walk away,” and then yells, “You walk away. You’re talking to my wife right now.”
Pentland says, “You either walk away or I’m going to carry your a** out of here.” Deandre tells Pentland not to touch him and Pentland says, “What are you going to do?” He then says, “Let’s go, walk away. I’m about to do something to you. You better start walking right now. … You’re in the wrong neighborhood motherf*****. Get out.”
Deandre then tells Pentland he lives in the neighborhood, and Pentland asks, “Where? Where’s your house? What’s your address?” The young man says he doesn’t have to tell him and Pentland’s wife then says, “Maybe we should walk you home.” The soldier then says, “Right now you are harassing the neighborhood. … We are a tight-knit community. We take care of each other. … I have never seen you before in my life.”
Pentland then gets into Deandre’s face and says, “Check it out motherf***** I’m not playing with you. You either get your a** moving or I’m going to move you. … I’m about to show you what I can do. You better walk away. Walk away.”
Lott said the video was the evidence needed to charge Pentland. “He put his hands on somebody, that’s assault and battery when you place your hands on someone. The video shows he did,” Lott said.
2. The Woman Who Posted the Video Said Police Told Witnesses They Could Only Charge Pentland With Malicious Injury to Property & Not Assault
The video was posted on Facebook by a Columbia woman, Shirell Johnson, who said she was walking in the neighborhood with a friend, Vinnetta Yvonne Knight Osborne, on Monday night, April 12, 2021, when she saw the incident unfolding. Johnson said in a Facebook post the video was recorded by a “young lady,” Shadae, and given to her to post online. Johnson said she, Shadae and her friend did not know Deandre before Monday night.
“She saw the young man in distress and knew he didn’t do anything wrong so she started videoing for his safety! (Smart girl❤️). She sent me the video last night and I got the ok to post it,” Johnson wrote on Facebook on April 13. “I have been in contact with both D (as I call him now) to check on him and the young lady Shadae who did the video. Both are doing ok but still processing. Last night we all bonded bc we noticed a young man in distress and he happened to be black!”
The woman who filmed the video, Shadae McCallum, also posted it on Twitter.
McCallum tweeted, “I went for a walk yesterday evening and I encountered a young man (Deandre)in distress. I decided to record the incident in order to protect this black man from possibly becoming a statistic. There was also a part that I didn’t record of the taller man slapping the phone out of Deandre’s hands and stepping on it. The taller man also pushed Deandre several times off camera.”
In a longer version of the video posted by Johnson, Deandre can be heard telling Pentland he doesn’t know him and asking him his name, which Pentland refuses to give him. He asks Pentland if he is an “officer of the law,” and Pentland replies, “I’m about to throw you out. I can do a hell of a lot more than you think you can. Just move along.”
Pentland’s wife, Cassie, can be heard telling Deandre, “Sir, you’re acting like a child. Move on. You picked a fight with some random young lady that’s one of our neighbors.” Deandre can be heard telling her that he didn’t pick a fight with anyone, and that he was the one who had someone run up to him.” The video ends as Johnson and her friend walk up and intervene.
Johnson added, “We waited with him until the officer arrived and we repeatedly informed the officer that D was assaulted (you all didn’t see the second instance) when he slapped his hand and his phone fell and cracked. The officer told us that his supervisor told him that he could only charge the white guy with malicious injury to property and not assault!”
McCallum said on Twitter, “When the officer arrived, he said that the taller man could only be charged with malicious intent to property despite the video showing Deandre being assaulted. Although I’m so thankful that Deandre was able to make it home safely, this situation was surreal.”
She added, “It’s one thing to watch these type of incidents on video but it’s another to watch it happen right in front of you. I’m also thankful for the two ladies that came up and took Deandre in another direction to safety.” McCallum added in an April 14 tweet, “Deandre is fine, just shaken up and overwhelmed.”
According to Johnson, Deandre lives in the Summit neighborhood not far from where the incident occurred in a planned community called The Lakes at Barony Place. She said he has been “walking plenty of times and he lives in the summit!” She added, “Deandre was calm throughout.”
Johnson added, “Vinnetta and I only wanted to get D to safety bc the situation was getting out of control and that white guy was very angry and yelling at him overpowering him. We circled back to get him out of that situation bc we refused to see D go to jail or lying there dead simply bc he was black. The only thing he did was be black while walking!!!”
Columbia residents have reached out to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department asking why charges weren’t filed. One woman wrote on Facebook on the department’s page, “Why was Jonathan Pentland only issued a citation for property damage when he is on video clearly assaulting a young man and there were multiple witnesses stating they saw the assault? Who was the RCSD supervisor who issued the directive not to proceed with assault charges? Why were the proper charges not filed? Is this the narrative that RCSD wants to support-that a stranger can walk up to you during your afternoon walk and assault you with no consequences?”
Lott addressed those concerns at the press conference on April 14, saying they didn’t want to rush to judgment unnecessarily. Deputies responded Monday and took reports and made sure the scene was under control. The case was given to investigators on Tuesday. Lott said the lead investigator, Sergeant Walter McDaniels, slept in his office Tuesday night after getting the video to make sure the case was completed.
The sheriff said “no special considerations were given whatsoever” to Pentland. He said McDaniels and Investigator Vicki Raines interviewed the suspect, witnesses, the victim and family members to put the case together. He said the evidence was presented to the solicitor’s office and a magistrate and they determined the charge against Pentland.
Lott said, “This shows what our community can do when we work together. Our initial call came from a citizen that lived in that community who saw the confrontation and called the sheriff’s department. We have to work together to ensure that we prevent incidents that occurred on Monday from ever happening again.”
3. Pentland Has Worked as a Drill Instructor at Fort Jackson & Was Recently Promoted in 2020
Pentland has been at Fort Jackson in Columbia since at least 2019 and has worked as a drill sergeant at the garrison, according to photos on the 1st Battalion 61st Infantry Regiment “Roadrunners” Fort Jackson SC Facebook page, which appears to have been removed since the incident with Pentland went viral.
According to a document from the Secretary of the Army, Pentland was promoted to sergeant first class in April 2020.
According to its website, the installation, named for Andrew Jackson, is a U.S. Army Training Center. The website explains, “Fort Jackson is home to new training facilities and schools; including the U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute, the Department of Defense Chaplain Center and School, and the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment. Today, Fort Jackson is the biggest and most active Initial Entry Training center in the entire U.S Army training 50 percent of all Soldiers and 60 percent of the women entering the Army each year.”
4. Pentland Was Previously Based at Fort Drum as Part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
Before Pentland was based at Fort Jackson he was stationed at Fort Drum in New York, where he was part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, according to Facebook photos on the unit’s page.
Pentland also spent time as part of the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Carson in Colorado, according to its Facebook page. He additionally spent time with the Battle Company 1-32 Infantry at Fort Drum, according to its Facebook page.
5. Pentland Is an Idaho Native Who Has Owned His Home in the Columbia Neighborhood Since May 2020
Pentland is originally from Mountain Home, Idaho, according to his 2006 wedding announcement. He and his wife, Cassie Dalrymple Pentland, have two young children, a son and a daughter, according to his Facebook page.
Pentland and his wife purchased their home in The Lakes at Barony Place in May 2020 for $282,900, according to public records. The house was a new construction when they bought it. Their house was built by the development’s planners, DR Horton, in 2019, Richland County public records reveal. The house was purchased using a VA home loan, according to records.
Pentland made his Instagram account private after the video went viral and also limited the public information available on his Facebook page. The Facebook profile shows photos of his kids and pictures with his wife. One of the only available public posts is Pentland wishing his wife a happy birthday on April 14 in 2011. Her profile is also mostly private. On Instagram, he says in his profile description simply, “Nothing to say.”
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