Fort Jackson commanding general says civilian court will handle Army drill sergeant spat with Black man case

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Fort Jackson’s Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr. announced Friday that the Army would allow civilian authorities to handle the investigation into a drill sergeant accused of simple assault against a young Black man during an altercation outside his South Carolina home.

“I have the utmost confidence in our civilian criminal system and trust that it will reach a fair and just resolution of this case,” Beagle said in a statement. “I do not want to take any actions now that could interfere with the fair resolution of civilian criminal charges.”

Jonathan Pentland, a U.S. Army staff sergeant, was charged with third-degree assault and battery after a video went viral depicting him accosting and shoving a Black man. (Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center via AP)

Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Pentland was charged with third-degree assault after a viral video showed him shove and repeatedly tell a local man, identified publicly only by his first name, Deandre, to “walk away.”


After the local sheriff announced charges against Pentland, Black Lives Matter protesters swarmed his house in suburban Columbia, vandalizing it and prompting deputies to escort him and his family to Fort Jackson for their safety.

Incident reports indicated that Deandre had also been suspected of a misdemeanor assault for allegedly touching a woman’s waist without her permission and picking up someone else’s baby repeatedly.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, however, said those claims would not be prosecuted and that no actions Deandre took before his encounter with Pentland warranted the soldier’s reaction.

Neither Pentland nor Deandre have responded to multiple Fox News requests for comment.

Pentland faces a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 30 days in jail on the misdemeanor assault charge. He was also charged with allegedly damaging Deandre’s cellphone.

The Army suspended Pentland from his instruction duties and said he remains “in an administrative capacity” pending the outcome of the criminal process.

Beagle also weighed in on another viral video in the area, which showed a former Army drill sergeant shouting profanities and criticizing Black Lives Matter at a Food Lion in Sumter after a clerk refused to sell the 27-year-old and his wife alcohol.

Beagle said the man had been discharged in 2020 but was addressing the incident anyway because he had past ties to Fort Jackson.

“For the incident in Sumter, S.C., I have no jurisdiction, yet remain equally confident that our civilian system will apply due process as the case is reviewed and handled by officials in Sumter County,” he said.


“Your Army leaders will not allow the actions of a few to tarnish the reputation and selfless service of your Army’s most precious resource — men and women who’ve volunteered to serve honorably –nor to remove the spotlight from the members of our squad who are living the Army values,” Beagle added. “The Army Values are what we will live by.”

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