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Soldier charged after viral video incident in Columbia neighborhood

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said the suspect, Jonathan Eugene Pentland, is charged with assault and battery third degree

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A soldier at Fort Jackson is facing a misdemeanor charge following an incident captured on video that went viral on social media.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said the suspect, Jonathan Eugene Pentland, is charged with assault and battery third degree. That charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. 

"It was terrible, it's was unnecessary," Lott said. "The young man was a victim, the individual arrested was the aggressor." 

Pentland was taken into custody around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. At a bond hearing he was given what's known as a personal recognizance bond, which means he does not have to pay for his release. 

The Richland County Sheriff's Department had earlier confirmed they were looking into the situation which they say happened April 12 on a street inside a subdivision at the Summit. That's a large development with multiple subdivisions in northeast Richland County. 

RELATED: Protestors call for justice in Columbia neighborhood after video goes viral

A video that's been shared thousands of times on multiple social media platforms captured a segment of what happened, but not all of it. According to Lott, it shows a confrontation between a young man walking in the neighborhood and Pentland, who identifies himself as a homeowner who lives there.

Lott said Pentland is the man is the video, and can be heard yelling "walk away," "I'm about to do something to you," and "you're in the wrong neighborhood," to the victim. Lott said Pentland then shoved the victim and that's what led them to bring the evidence to the solicitor, who determined the charge. 

Credit: Richland County Sheriff's Dept.
Johnathan Eugene Pentland

"When something like this happens the sheriff's department is going to act swiftly," Lott said. "We're not going to tolerate people acting like bullies in our community." 

News19 has been contacted by many in the community who have questions about the video. We have been looking into the situation since Tuesday and are working to get as much context about what happened so we can accurately report on the situation, reaching out to both people who may have witnessed the incident as well as law enforcement.

A group of about two dozen protestors showed up in the neighborhood where the incident happened Wednesday afternoon, chanting and holding signs calling for justice and accountability. 

RELATED: Peaceful protests turn 'disruptive' in Summit neighborhood, family 'extracted' from home

Fort Jackson said they're involved in the investigation as well. 

"The leaders at Fort Jackson in no way condone the behavior depicted in the video posted recently," said Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle, Jr. "This action deeply impacts our community--the neighbors in the Summit, the city of Columbia, Richland & Lexington counties, and our Army family," Beagle said.  "I ask that our communities and leaders exercise a degree of patience, affording Sherriff Lott and law enforcement investigators to account for the full measure of events before, during, and after the incident that was recorded."

Base officials say the U.S. Department of Justice is also looking into the incident. 

"I remain deeply concerned for the members of our Army family, the young man and his family, and the tensions that activities like this amplify over time; please be patient as facts are determined," Beagle added.

Lott met with elected officials and representatives of various organizations about the incident Wednesday afternoon. 

"We need to work together and prevent it," Lott said. "We can do that when we work together as a team."

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