THE white Army drill sergeant charged with assaulting a black man walking near his home will be handled in civilian court, the military has said.
Fort Jackson’s Commander Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr. declared on Friday that the military will let the civilian criminal justice system play out in the assault and battery charge lodged against Jonathan Pentland to avoid meddling with the merits of the case.
"While I have the authority to take action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or take other administrative actions, I have the utmost confidence in our civilian criminal system and trust that it will reach a fair and just resolution of this case," Beagle said in a statement , first reported by Army Times .
"I do not want to take any actions now that could interfere with the fair resolution of civilian criminal charges."
If found guilty, Pentland could serve 30 days in jail and pay a $500 fine, according to the Greenville News .
Pentland, 42, faced harsh backlash after a video posted online showed the barefoot drill sergeant on April 12 attacking a young black man who was walking around the street of his home in Columbia, South Carolina, and groused: “You came to the wrong neighborhood motherf**ker.”
The alleged victim – who has been identified only by the first name Deandre – was committed to a facility for mental treatment following the raging confrontation.
The alleged instigator Pentland was serving as a drill instructor since 2019 at Fort Jackson, a US Army base located in Columbia, South Carolina.
But two days after the incident, Pentland was "suspended from his primary duties" as a drill instructor but "continues to serve his command in an administrative capacity, pending the next step in the civil process," Gen. Beagle Jr confirmed in Friday's statement.
Following his suspension and after getting slapped with criminal charges, Richland County Sheriff's Department transferred Pentland to Fort Jackson.
“Soldier conduct on and off duty must be exemplary to retain the trust of our communities and our nation,” said Gen. Beagle wrote in a statement . “Fort Jackson continues to work with and support Sheriff Lott our local law enforcement professionals, and community & civil leadership as this case moves forward.”
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Pentland’s neighborhood has since become flooded with BLM protests ever since.
Marchers gathered at the sergeant’s home chanting "No justice, no peace" and demanded answers and accountability for Pentland's bullish behavior during the standoff.
"I'm on your yard, bro, I’m on your territory at this point," one woman roared outside a property believed to be his home. "Come on! We want to talk to you, we just want to talk – we want to understand some things.”
“What [are] you going to do – you [are] going to stay in here every night?”
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