Who is Sergeant Jonathan Pentland?
SERGEANT Jonathan Pentland has hit headlines across the US after appearing in a video that took the internet by storm and went viral.
The Fort Jackson drill instructor has found himself in hot water with authorities – but who is he, and what is he accused of?
Who is Sergeant Jonathan Pentland?
Jonathan Pentland is a US army first class based at Fort Jackson in Columbia.
According to social media accounts connected to Pentland, he has been stationed at Fort Jackson since at least 2019 and has worked as a drill sergeant at the garrison, a 53,000-acre complex that trains 50 per cent of all soldiers and 60 per cent of women who enter the Army each year.
Pentland appears to have been promoted to sergeant first class in April 2020.
Before heading to Fort Jackson, Pentland was based at Fort Drum in New York where, according to pictures on the unit's Facebook page, he was part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
He is originally from Idaho and his married to wife Cassie.
Pentland is 42 years old.
What has Sergeant Jonathan Pentland been accused of?
Sergeant Jonathan Pentland was charged with third-degree assault on Wednesday, April 14, after being filmed accosting and shoving a black man in a South Carolina neighborhood, telling him: "You came to the wrong neighborhood motherf****r".
The video, posted Monday, April 12 by a woman on Facebook and shared thousands of times, shows a man, identified as Pentland, demanding that the man leave the neighborhood before threatening him with physical violence.
"You're in the wrong neighborhood", Pentland, standing on a sidewalk in Columbia, can be heard saying to the other man before using an expletive.
"I ain't playing with you," he added. "I'm about to show you what I can do."
The recording begins with Pentland asking the man what he's doing in the area. He says he was simply walking and not bothering anyone.
Throughout the video, Pentland continuously demands that the other man leave the neighborhood, getting in his face and, at one point, pushing the man, who almost falls to the ground.
"Lets go, walk away," Pentland says in the clip. "I'm about to do something to you. You better start walking right now."
At the end of the video, a woman who Pentland identifies as his wife can be heard telling the other man that he had picked a fight with some random young lady in the neighborhood, a claim the man then denies.
If convicted, Pentland – who is listed as detained in the Richland County jail – faces up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
What has Sergeant Jonathan Pentland said in response?
Pentland has not commented since the video when viral on Monday, April 12.
He has, however, made his Instagram account private, with his profile description reading: "Nothing to say".
Pentland has also restricted how much can be publicly seen on his Facebook page.
Officials at Fort Jackson, however, the US Army's largest basic training facility, said Wednesday, April 14 they were looking into the incident.
On one of its Twitter accounts, base officials also said that U.S. Department of Justice authorities were investigating as well.
Asked on Twitter for his response to the video Fort Jackson Commanding Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr said: "This is by no means condoned by any service member.
"We will get to the bottom of this ASAP."
On his official Facebook page, Beagle said Army officials had begun their own investigation and were working with the local authorities.
During an afternoon news conference, Sheriff Leon Lott said the other man in the video was not a juvenile but declined to release his name.
Lott said that man had been involved in other incidents in the neighborhood in the days leading up to the video but said that "none of them justified the assault that occurred."
"The first time I saw the video, it was terrible. It was unnecessary," Lott said, noting he had met with community leaders and elected officials before speaking with reporters.
Lott said his investigators had turned their case over to prosecutors, who determined what charge to levy against Pentland.
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