COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The Barony Place Drive neighborhood remained mostly quiet Thursday after a Wednesday night protest prompted Richland County Sheriff’s deputies to shut down the road and escort Jonathan Pentland and his family out of the area.
Demonstrators flocked to the street outside Pentland’s home in Columbia after a viral video circulating earlier in the week showing the US Army drill sergeant verbally accosting a young black man.
In the video, Pentland is seen telling the man to leave the neighborhood before shoving him and uttering additional threats. The victim is heard telling Pentland he is just out for a walk.
On Wednesday, the sheriff’s office arrested Pentland and charged him with third degree assault and battery. He has also been suspended from his instructor duties on the Fort Jackson army base while his case is being investigated.
Derrick Quarles with South Carolina Black Lives Matter says they want to see Pentland court martialed and discharged from the military.
“When people decide to be racist, especially people in uniform – whether it’s a military uniform, whether you’re a cop or whether you’re an elected official – if you decide to be racist or you decide to bully someone because of their skin color, because of their condition, we’re going to show up and we are going to confront you and help you understand that we are more alike than different,” Quarles said.
The protest Wednesday night grew to the point where the Richland County Sheriff’s Office had to shut it down after a light on Pentland’s home was damaged, a window was broken and an orange substance was thrown at a garage door. Quarles says those damages were caused by one person and does not represent the overall protest.
“We want people to come out to express themselves how they so choose but also be mindful of the law and understand that if you break the law then you are subject to whatever those ramifications are but the goal is for everybody to remain peaceful,” Quarles said.
Pentland faces a $500 fine or 30 days in jail, but Quarles says many of the protesters want to see those punishments upped. According to Quarles, part of the demonstrations on Thursday took place at the state capitol where they were pushing for the passage of a hate crime law bill.
Democratic State Representative Wendell Gilliard from Charleston is one of the chief architects behind the bill. He says this case is a perfect candidate for a hate crime adjustment.
“Whether it is a person walking through his or her community or people worshiping in a church or going out just to have a good time, this is the reason why we need a hate crime law in the State of South Carolina,” Gilliard said.
As of 7 p.m. Thursday, protesters were minimally present outside of Pentlands house and that was perfectly fine many neighbors. Tim Boy lives in the area and says he supports the protest effort but is happy have the spotlight shine somewhere else.
“I was glad it died down because a lot of people have a lot of things to do and of course the construction workers are putting up some more houses. That one day I think was sufficient, was enough,” Boy said.