A black man has come out in support of police body cameras after he was gunned down by a white officer during a traffic stop and writhed in agony on the ground saying: ‘Why did you shoot me sir?’
Levar Jones, 36, who has no criminal record and was on his way home from his job at a Subway café, said the horror of his own shooting was brought home by the death of Walter Scott last week.
He told Daily Mail Online he wanted to see non-lethal methods introduced for police, new training in them, and supported bodycams for officers.
Mr Jones was confronted by a police officer opening fire at him as he followed instructions to produce his driver’s license and was hit in the stomach.
The horrifying incident was captured on the officer’s dash cam and has led to the policeman Sean Groubert, 31, being fired and charged with a felony assault.
The victim said the shooting on last September has led to serious psychological problems which had left him unable to work since and needing to see a counselor regularly to help him through the trauma.
He told Daily Mail Online: ‘I was just an innocent person pulling up at a gas station.
‘The officer asked for my license and I tried not to look as a threat at any minute.
‘I made it obvious that I was going for my wallet and as I was going to reach for it. He started shouting at me and opened fire.’
Mr Jones said he had gone to the Shell gas station in Columbia, South Carolina, the same state where Mr Scott was killed this month, to buy cigarettes while on his way home from work.
The dash cam recorded the shooting and Mr Jones writhing in agony, calling the officer ‘Sir’ and pleading to know why he had been shot.
Groubert is seen in the video pulling out of the station and then suddenly putting his vehicle into reverse, turning back and driving towards Mr Jones’ white pick up truck which has just pulled in.
The clip shows Mr. Jones getting out of his vehicle and on hearing the officer’s instructions to produce his license, turn and reach into his vehicle to retrieve it.
Groubert shouts, ‘Get out of the car!’
When Mr Jones complies and starts to back away from the vehicle with his hands raised, Groubert opens fire.
Four shots can be heard with the victim being hit in the hip and reeling backwards and falling to the ground as demanded by the shooter.
The audio then reveals Mr Jones screaming and saying: ‘I was just getting my license. I am sorry…Sir, why was I shot? All I did was reach for my license. I’m coming from work.’
Groubert tries to explain himself and responds: ‘Well, you dove head-first back into your car. Then you jumped back out. I’m telling you to get out of your car.’
The policeman is heard accusing the catering worker of a seat belt violation, but even amid his pain, he can be heard saying: ‘I just pulled it off right there at the corner to pull in the gas station.’
The officer was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in jail.
The complaint states that Groubert ‘did without justification unlawfully shoot Levar Jones which produced great bodily injury or was likely to cause great bodily injury.