A Black Lives Matter protester and Air Force veteran who joined a demonstration outside the us-regions home of topics Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Pentland pulled his mask off, accused the drill sergeant of violating his oath of enlistment and then declared he had infectious-disease.
The twist at the end of his speech prompted a man and woman standing behind him to step backward and shrink away with alarmed looks on their faces.
Calls to two numbers listed for the speaker, identified as Air Force veteran Shea Harley, were not immediately returned Friday evening.
“You don’t deserve to serve another second in the United States Army,” Harley says, shouting from the foot of Pentland’s driveway at the beginning of the video. “You took [an] oath” – then he rips off his mask to finish the line – “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. [Against all] enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Other protesters at the home, about 15 minutes from the Army’s Fort Jackson, cheered the line.
“You are supposed to defend this country,” Harley continued. “You are supposed to have excellence in all that you do.”
But the speech took an unexpected turn when the Air Force vet declared that, “I came from my home. I am dying. I have COVID. And I’m sick.”
The video cuts away, ending before Harley finishes his thought. And the photojournalist who recorded it for the The State newspaper, based in Columbia, S.C., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jonathan Pentland, a U.S. Army staff sergeant, was charged with third-degree assault and battery after a video went viral depicting him accosting and shoving a Black man. (Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center via AP)
About 150 protesters had gathered outside Pentland’s home in the Summit community, northeast of Columbia, after Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced he was being charged with third-degree assault in connection with a racially charged viral video that showed him repeatedly demanding a Black man “walk away.”
At one point, he shoved the man, which authorities said justified the charge. He had also been charged on the day of the incident in connection with allegedly breaking the man’s cellphone.
“[Pentland] touched somebody,” Lott said Wednesday. “That’s an assault. That’s assault and battery when you place your hands on someone, and he did. The video showed that he did, and that’s the evidence that we have that he was charged with.”
Despite the assault charge, which carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 30 days in jail, protesters gathered outside Pentland’s home Wednesday night.
A police report indicates that the protest Wednesday began peacefully in the daytime but turned violent around 8 p.m. when some demonstrators allegedly threw trash, water bottles and other objects at the home. Someone launched a hammer through an upstairs window, and witnesses reported seeing a masked Black man bashing the garage door and a light fixture with a baseball bat before leaving in a Cadillac.
Deputies eventually transported the family to a safe location.
Fort Jackson said in a statement that Pentland, a drill sergeant, had been suspended from his instruction duties pending an outcome of the criminal case and an internal investigation into his actions in the Monday video.