South Carolina Department of Public Safety


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 19, 2014
Contact: Sherri Iacobelli, 803-331-7819, or Lt. Kelley Hughes, 803-530-1664

 

SECOND FOLLOW UP: TROOPER-INVOLVED SHOOTING IN RICHLAND COUNTY ON SEPTEMBER 4, 2014

COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety is issuing a second follow-up to the trooper-involved shooting on September 4 in Richland County.

 

Around 5 p.m. on September 4, L/Cpl. S.M. Groubert stopped a vehicle at the Circle K convenience store at Broad River and Whiteford Roads in Richland County.  Groubert had finished with another traffic stop when he initiated a traffic stop on Mr. Levar Edward Jones, age 35, of Columbia for a safety belt violation.

 

Mr. Jones exited his vehicle in the convenience store parking lot, and L/Cpl. Groubert asked for Mr. Jones’ license. Mr. Jones turned to his vehicle and reached inside. For reasons that only Groubert can articulate at this point, he fired his service weapon multiple times while yelling repeatedly for Mr. Jones to “get out of the car.” Mr. Jones was not armed and was struck during the incident. We are told he was treated and released from the hospital.    

 

In light of these facts, on Friday, September 19, Director Leroy Smith made the decision to terminate the employment of L/Cpl. Groubert from the South Carolina Highway Patrol following an administrative review of the case. 

 

Statement from SCDPS Director Leroy Smith:

After my review of the facts surrounding this matter, I have determined that Mr. Groubert’s actions rose to such an extent that his employment with us must be terminated. The facts of this case are disturbing to me, but I believe this case was an isolated incident in which Mr. Groubert reacted to a perceived threat where there was none.  The department’s Use of Force Policy makes clear that officers shall use “only the level of force necessary to accomplish lawful objectives” and that “the use of force must be discontinued when it becomes apparent to the officer that the force is no longer needed.” That protocol was not followed in this case.

 

Further, this incident occurred in broad daylight. Mr. Groubert had a clear and unobstructed view of Mr. Jones. While Mr. Groubert was within the law to stop Mr. Jones for a safety belt violation, the force administered in this case was unwarranted, inconsistent with how our troopers are trained, and clearly in violation of Department policies. These violations demonstrate behavior that deviates from SCDPS standards and cannot be tolerated. 

 

The Highway Patrol professionally makes around 750,000 traffic contacts per year. Our troopers are trained to protect the public we serve, and motorists’ safety is paramount to us. Groubert’s actions in this situation were contradictory to the outstanding training our troopers receive. This case has been thoroughly investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division and has been turned over to the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office for review and determination of any subsequent criminal charges. The SCDPS Office of Professional Responsibility’s internal investigation of this case continues. Additionally, the trooper’s in-car video is part of an ongoing criminal prosecution review and, therefore, will be released in coordination with Solicitor’s Office. I want to thank the community for its patience as we continue our administrative investigation into this matter.

 

-----------------------------------------------------

Follow-up on September 5:

cid:425234913@12082013-1DFASouth Carolina Department of Public Safety
    
                             
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2014
Contact: Sherri Iacobelli, 803-331-7819, or Lt. Kelley Hughes, 803-530-1664
                                    

FOLLOW UP: TROOPER-INVOLVED SHOOTING IN RICHLAND COUNTY ON SEPTEMBER 4, 2014

 

COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety is issuing a follow-up to the trooper-involved shooting on September 4 in Richland County.

 

L/Cpl. S.M. Groubert, Highway Patrol Troop 1, Post D/Richland County, stopped a Dodge Durango driven by Levar Edward Jones, 35, of Columbia for a safety belt violation at Broad River and Whiteford Roads in Richland County. The incident took place around 5 p.m. in the parking lot of the Circle K convenience store. During the course of the traffic stop, the trooper discharged his department-issued firearm. The driver was struck and injured and was transported to an area hospital.

 

Groubert has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard protocol in officer-involved shootings. Groubert originally joined the Highway Patrol in 2005.

 

Groubert was previously involved in a shooting in 2012 in which a suspect fled from troopers at a traffic stop. Troopers pursued him to the Wells Fargo Bank in Five Points where he opened fire on Groubert and another trooper in the bank parking lot. The suspect, Scott Parker Hanson, was injured and was later charged with attempted murder and convicted in 2013.

 

SLED is investigating yesterday’s officer-involved shooting.

 

Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith issued a statement last night to assure the public that he takes this matter very seriously and will continue to update the media and the public as information becomes available for release.

 

-----------------------------------------------------

News release issued September 4:

cid:425234913@12082013-1DFASouth Carolina Department of Public Safety

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 4, 2014
Contact: Sherri Iacobelli, 803-331-7819, or Lt. R.K. Hughes, 803-530-1664

 

SCDPS RELEASES STATEMENT REGARDING TROOPER-INVOLVED SHOOTING


COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety announces that a trooper has been involved in a shooting in Richland County.  The incident occurred when the trooper made a traffic stop at Whiteford Road and Broad River Road on a Dodge Durango for a traffic violation. The incident occurred about 5 p.m. on September 4. The trooper was not injured and the violator was injured and transported to a local hospital.

 

The trooper has been placed on administrative duty and the State Law Enforcement Division has taken over the investigation, both of which are standard protocol in an officer-involved shooting. The details of the incident will be part of SLED's investigation. Once the investigation is completed, SLED will present its findings to the solicitor's office.

 

DPS Director Leroy Smith said, "This incident is still very fresh, and we know the public and community have many questions at this time. We want to be fully transparent, and I can assure the community that we are assisting in every way to ensure a full and thorough investigation. As SLED conducts the investigation, we ask the community to be patient with us until further information can be released."

 

The DPS Office of Professional Responsibility will be conducting an internal investigation once the SLED investigation is closed.

 


The South Carolina Department of Public Safety includes the Highway Patrol, State Transport Police, Bureau of Protective Services, Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs, Immigration Enforcement Unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame. Our mission is to ensure public safety by protecting and serving the people of South Carolina and its visitors. www.scdps.gov
FOLLOW SCDPS ON:facebook, twitter, instagram SCDPS on Facebook SCDPS on Twitter SCDPS on Instagram
SCDPS on Facebook SCDPS on Twitter SCDPS on Instagram