The Army has taken administrative action against the Fort Jackson, South Carolina, drill sergeant caught in a viral video assaulting a Black man in his neighborhood, officials announced Friday.
A judge convicted Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Pentland of misdemeanor assault and battery Aug. 23 after a two-day bench trial.
“Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis has taken appropriate action in response to the conduct of Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Pentland,” said Fort Jackson spokesperson LA Sully in a statement.
“The Richland County trial is complete,” Michaelis said in the release. “We are the nation’s Army and we continue to value and strengthen our shared trust with our local communities. Soldiers are trained to conduct themselves in a respectful manner and adhere to the Army values.”
“They are also held accountable when they do not,” Michaelis said
The drill sergeant “has fulfilled his assignment obligation at Fort Jackson,” and will soon PCS to a new duty station, Sully said.
Pentland’s discipline consisted of “administrative action,” Sully added when reached by Army Times. “Due to privacy considerations there is nothing else that can be released about this matter.”
Administrative action — which typically does not include UCMJ action or Article 15 nonjudicial punitive actions — encompasses a broad range of potential punishments that includes negative counseling statements, memoranda of reprimand, barring reenlistment, or even involuntary discharges.
Pentland’s attorney ruled out discharge in a phone interview with Army Times.
“I don’t know the exact details, but I know that he still has a job,” said Benjamin Stitely, who represented Pentland at trial. “He’s glad that his side of the story got to be told, finally.”
Stitely said that Pentland is not appealing his conviction.
In the video of the assault that went viral earlier this year, Pentland pursued and shoved a Black man.
Pentland can be heard saying, “You either walk away or I’m going to carry your ass out of here.”
He continued to follow the Black man — later identified as Deandre Williams — down the sidewalk, adding, “Let’s go, walk away. I’m about to do something to you. You better start walking right now… you’re in the wrong neighborhood motherfucker. Get out.”
The trial revealed that Richland County, South Carolina, authorities had previously responded to calls claiming that the victim, Deandre Williams, was harassing women in the neighborhood.
But The State reported tearful testimony from Williams’ father revealing that the victim, who is shorter and weighs around a hundred pounds less than Pentland, had suffered brain damage during a bout with lymphoma — a type of cancer.
“He doesn’t quite understand things as we would,” said his father, according to the Post and Courier.
Pentland ultimately apologized for the impact of his actions but not for the assault itself, the Post and Courier reported.
“It’s embarrassing to the community, I’m sorry for the way it escalated, anybody looking back at this, you can watch that video and 100 percent see that it looks worse than it is,” Pentland said. “I did what I felt I had to do to protect my friends and family.”
“I stand by what I did,” he said.
Military Times senior editor Sarah Sicard contributed to this report.
Davis Winkie is a staff reporter covering the Army. He originally joined Military Times as a reporting intern in 2020. Before journalism, Davis worked as a military historian. He is also a human resources officer in the Army National Guard.
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