GRAPHIC: Former ‘Trooper of the Year’ charged for shooting unarmed man during traffic stop

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Warning: This video is graphic and is not appropriate for all audiences.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A South Carolina trooper, who shot an unarmed man during a traffic stop, is out of a job and facing criminal charges.

The trooper appeared in court on Wednesday, the same day authorities released dash cam video of the Sept. 4 incident.

A traffic stop from three weeks ago has landed a former 'Trooper of the Year' behind bars.

The graphic video shows just what happened.

Prosecutors say the trooper stopped a man at the Circle K on Broad River Rd. for a seat belt violation.

It's what happened next that has the trooper charged with a felony.

For reasons only Sean Groubert can articulate, he fired on the unarmed victim, 35-year-old Levar Jones, who was struck in the hip.

Trooper: "Are you hit?"

Jones: "I think so! I can't feel my legs. I don't know what happened. I just grabbed my license."

Jones: "Why did you shoot me?"

Trooper: "Well, you dove head first back into your car."

"I just asked for prayers for Mr. Jones' family. I ask for prayers for his family, because I know this causes a change in life," said Rev. Kenneth Spry.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol fired Groubert last Friday.

Rev. Kenneth Spry, who was at the scene, says he's elated by what he calls justice.

Groubert is now charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, which could carry 20 years in prison.

"They didn't waste a lot of time because of the public stewing and brewing over this situation," said Spry.

The video was shown in bond court as a judge granted a $75,000 bond to the former trooper.

A defense attorney for the former trooper said there's more than one way to interpret the video and told the judge his client is not guilty.

He claims Groubert was justified in shooting Jones, who was reaching for his license.

The attorney says Jones reached for it aggressively and Groubert thought he was reaching for a gun.

Trooper: "It's a seat belt violation sir."

Jones: "Seat belt! I just pulled it off right there at the corner to pull into the gas station!"

Trooper: "Well, I've got help coming to you. I've got help coming to you."

Groubert is scheduled to be back in court on Oct. 24.

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