Video: Cop shoots driver for ... following his instructions

Via Becket Adams, one of the most horrifying yet somehow miraculously non-fatal shootings you’ll ever see. A cop pulls into a gas station, casually asks to see the license of a man who’s parked in front of him, and then when the driver turns back towards the front seat to get it, the cop … freaks out and fires three shots from maybe six feet away. The driver, Levar Jones, was hit at least once in the hip and taken to the hospital.

The reason the cop wanted to see his license, incidentally, was because Jones wasn’t wearing his seatbelt.

The cop, Sean Groubert, told the DA afterward that Jones was behaving aggressively. The DA took that statement, then took a look at this dashcam video. Result: Groubert’s been charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, a felony that could land him 20 years in prison. He was fired from the state highway patrol on Friday. Why the shooting of Michael Brown attracted the attention it did while this case remained obscure until today is beyond me. (It happened three weeks ago although the video was made public only recently.) Maybe it’s because South Carolina moved so quickly to punish Groubert or maybe it’s because Jones fortunately survived. You would think, though, that a shooting documented by hard evidence would be at least as much of a rallying point as the one where there’s no video and the facts are in dispute. Mother Jones asks a fair question: If there was no dashcam here, how likely is it that Jones would have convinced prosecutors that this happened the way it apparently did?

Read Reason’s Nick Gillespie on why having the police wear cameras is good for them and for us.