COLUMBIA, S.C. » A former state trooper faces a felony charge in the shooting of an unarmed man during a traffic stop in Columbia earlier this month.
The State Law Enforcement Division said in a news release that 31-year-old Sean Groubert was charged Wednesday with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Authorities say Groubert stopped the victim for a seatbelt violation on Sept. 4. The victim got out of his car, and investigators say the trooper shot him as he reached back into his vehicle. Groubert was fired last week.
Prosecutors released video of the traffic stop that shows the trooper asking the driver for his license, then firing several shots as the man reaches back into his vehicle. The man then screams, "What did I do?" and tells the trooper he was just trying to get his license.
Groubert said he shot the man because he was reaching back into his car.
It wasn’t known if Groubert had a lawyer.