The white Army sergeant filmed pushing and threatening a Black 22-year-old named Deandre Williams in a video that went viral in April has been convicted of third-degree assault and battery.
CNN reports a magistrate judge found Fort Jackson Army Sgt. Jonathan Pentland, 42, guilty of the misdemeanor Monday after a two-day trial. Pentland was sentenced to either 30 days in prison or a fine of $1,087.
“It’s embarrassing to the community,” Pentland testified in court. “I’m sorry for the way it escalated. Anybody looking back at this, you can watch that video and 100 percent see that it looks worse than it is. I did what I felt I had to do to protect my friends and family.”
Pentland’s attorney Benjamin Allen Stitely argued law enforcement failed to conduct a thorough investigation.
“In all these investigations, when the sheriff had already made a warrant, not one of them came and asked the people who lived there what happened,” Stitely said in his closing statement. “They didn’t want the truth. They wanted to make up a bully for TV’s sake.”
The conviction arrives three months after a video of Pentland aggressively shoving Williams went viral.
In the two-minute video, Pentland is seen questioning Williams on a sidewalk, who explains he’s out for a walk.
“I didn’t hit you,” Pentland is heard saying. “There’s a different between pushing you [and hitting you]. You’re aggressing on the neighborhood.” From there, Pentland is seen screaming at and pushing Williams.
“Walk away!” Pentland hollers. “Walk away! Check it out, you either walk away or I’m gonna carry your ass out here.” The victim says he “didn’t do anything,” prompting further commentary from Pentland.
After his identitify was confirmed and released on social media later that week, Pentland’s family was moved from their home to an undisclosed location due to protesters gathering outside, and what the Richland County Sheriff’s Office identified as vandalism.