Sheriff investigates ‘disturbing’ video of Black man threatened in Columbia

Noah Feit
·5 min read

A tense incident in a Columbia neighborhood involving a white man and a younger Black man was filmed and shared on social media, drawing the attention of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, community leaders, the U.S. Army, and many more.

The video shows a white man confronting the Black man in the Summit neighborhood, according the the sheriff’s department. The video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter.

The sheriff’s department called the video “disturbing,” and said the video has helped tremendously in the department’s investigation of the incident.

The video shows the white man interrogating the Black man about what he is doing in the neighborhood and then repeatedly telling him to leave.

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The white man threatens and yells at the Black man, and at one point pushes him, video shows. The white man calls the Black man vulgar words, and often curses emphatically during the incident. No racial slurs are heard.

The website Heavy.com identified the white man in the video as a sergeant at Fort Jackson.

On Wednesday morning Fort Jackson released a statement saying officials are aware of the video and it has their full attention. The statement did not say whether the white man in the video is a sergeant at the base.

This type of behavior is not consistent with our Army values and will not be condoned,” officials said. Fort Jackson has begun its own investigation into the incident and is working with local authorities, according to the statement.

“Thank you to the community for bringing this to our attention and we will get to the bottom of this ASAP,” Fort Jackson Commanding General Milford Beagle Jr. said in the statement.

Both the sheriff’s department and community groups have planned news conferences on Wednesday to discuss the incident.

Prior to addressing the media, Sheriff Leon Lott planned to meet with elected officials and representatives of various organizations to discuss the incident and update them on an investigation.

“We want to ensure the community knows this incident has been a priority,” the sheriff’s department said in a news release. “The video in itself is very disturbing.”

The sheriff’s department said “there has been a lot of incorrect information” about the incident shared on social media. Lott’s news conference will be at 5 p.m.

Among the community organizations calling for justice following the incident are Building Better Communities, One Common Cause Community Control Initiative, Black Lives Matter SC, and Serve & Connect.

The sheriff’s department said it was called to the neighborhood on April 12 for a reported assault. In a news release, the sheriff’s department said the assault victim told deputies about two incidents that occurred in the neighborhood in recent days. The sheriff’s department did not specify whether the victim was the white man, the Black man or someone else.

The man suspected of being involved in the prior incidents, which were described as assaults, was seen again in the neighborhood “and a confrontation took place between him and another man, which is seen on the video,” the sheriff’s department said.

The sheriff’s department said it is investigating the confrontation on the video and the previous incidents. The previous incidents were not reported to authorities until deputies arrived on April 12, the sheriff’s department said.

Incident reports describe the suspect in both of the assaults that occurred before April 12 as a 22-year-old man. The sheriff’s department has not reported any evidence linking the young man in the video to the previous assaults.

In the first incident on April 8, a female told deputies she and another person were walking on Lakemont Drive at about 10 p.m. when they were approached by a man who put his arm around her waist, according to an incident report.

After she pushed him away from her, the man returned again and put his hand down the right side of her shorts, the incident report said.

The female told deputies that she “frantically” pushed his hand away, causing her to be exposed as her shorts partly came down. As she was pulling her shorts up, the man again put his arm around her waist before the female and the person she was walking with ran back to their home, according to the incident report.

In the second incident on April 10, a second female told deputies she was walking in the neighborhood with a 1-year-old boy about 7 p.m. The female was babysitting the 1-year-old, who was in a stroller, Deputy Brittany Hart told The State.

A man walking toward them “swung around and started to reach out” to the 1-year-old, according to an incident report.

The female said she initially thought the man was just going to talk to and look at the baby, the incident report said. She told deputies the man actually picked up the baby, without permission, and started to head off when she grabbed the 1-year-old and tried to walk away.

The man reacted by again grabbing the baby and telling the female “that this is not her child and she does not have the right to allow people to hold the child,” according to the incident report.

As they argued, the female again took the baby back and quickly headed home, she told deputies.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, no charges had been filed in any of the incidents, Hart said.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.