Objects thrown by a mob smashed into Jonathan Pentland’s home last Wednesday, shattering a window and breaking a light fixture. As things turned violent, Pentland’s family evacuated to a secure location, but nowhere is truly safe in the age of high-tech lynching.
Jonathan Pentland is a U.S. Army sergeant first class stationed at Fort Jackson near Columbia, South Carolina. His military resume includes time with 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson in Colorado, and the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum in New York. At least six years of service in the Army are typically required to become a sergeant first class, though many soldiers at this rank have more than 15 years of military service behind them. Pentland has sacrificed a not insignificant part of his life for this country—and yet the military, along with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the Black Lives Matter mob, have turned his life upside down.
Pentland is being investigated over a video showing him confronting a black man in the Columbia neighborhood where Pentland lives. According to Heavy, “the video was posted on Facebook by a Columbia woman, Shirell Johnson, who said she was walking in the neighborhood with a friend, Vinnetta Yvonne Knight Osborne, on Monday night, April 12, 2021, when she saw the incident unfolding.” Johnson said that the video was recorded by a woman named Shadae McCallum and given to her to post online.
In the video, Pentland repeatedly demands that the man, who has only been identified as Deandre, leave the area. Deandre refuses, and at one point, begins to approach Pentland’s wife—so the drill sergeant shoves him away from her. Deandre continues to refuse to leave and insists that he lives in the same neighborhood as Pentland but won’t say where. “We are a tight-knit community—we take care of each other,” Pentland says, adding, “I have never seen you before in my life.”
In a longer version of the video posted by Johnson, Pentland’s wife, Cassie, can be heard saying to Deandre: “Sir, you’re acting like a child. Move on. You picked a fight with some random young lady that’s one of our neighbors.” The Pentlands notify Deandre that the police are on their way.
When the Richland County Sheriff’s Department arrived, Johnson told the responding officers that Deandre was the victim and that Pentland had slapped Deandre’s phone out of his hand—an incident that Johnson said occurred off-camera. Curiously, both Johnson and the officers didn’t seem to think much at first of Pentland shoving Deandre away from his wife; the focus was on the broken phone.
“When the officer arrived,” McCallum said on Twitter, “he said that the taller man could only be charged with malicious intent to property, despite the video showing Deandre being assaulted.” Johnson added an officer told them “that his supervisor told him that he could only charge the white guy with malicious injury to property and not assault!”
Pentland initially received a citation for malicious injury to property for allegedly slapping Deandre’s phone from his hand and causing it to break. But then pressure from the mob began to mount against RCSD.
“Why was Jonathan Pentland only issued a citation for property damage when he is on video clearly assaulting a young man and there were multiple witnesses stating they saw the assault?” one woman complained on Facebook on the department’s page. “Who was the RCSD supervisor who issued the directive not to proceed with assault charges?” she went on. “Why were the proper charges not filed? Is this the narrative that RCSD wants to support—that a stranger can walk up to you during your afternoon walk and assault you with no consequences?”
Surrounded and Under Siege
Mob pressure works. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department announced over Twitter on April 14 that Sheriff Leon Lott would meet with elected officials and various organizations to discuss the incident. Protesters swarmed Pentland’s neighborhood ahead of a scheduled 5 p.m. press conference, Heavy reported. Democratic State Senator Mia McLeod would add to the flames on Wednesday as well.
“My sons have a freaking right to live,” said McLeod, who is black. “Another unarmed black man could be dead today because he was walking in a neighborhood that, I am told, is adjacent to his, doing absolutely nothing.”
Assuring the mob that “no special considerations were given whatsoever” to Pentland, Lott revealed that Pentland had been arrested that morning and charged with third-degree assault. According to South Carolina state law, Pentland now faces a possible sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Pentland has also been barred from having contact with Deandre and must stay 1,000 yards away from him, his home, and his place of work, school, or worship. More importantly, his life is ruined.
The community board of directors released a statement “strongly” condemning Pentland. “He does not represent this multi-cultural and multi-racial community,” it reads. “There is racism in every community in every city, state, county, and country.”
Fort Jackson Commanding General Milford Beagle Jr. tweeted about Pentland: “This is by no means condoned by any service member. We will get to the bottom of this ASAP.” The 10th Mountain Division posted this virtue signal on a 2017 photo of Pentland in uniform: “There is no place in the Army for extremist ideologies. We support the decision of the Fort Jackson Commanding General to look into this matter. This image will remain viewable to foster dialogue.”
Fort Jackson spokesperson L.A. Sully told reporters that Pentland’s “behavior is not consistent with our Army Values and will not be condoned. We have begun our own investigation and are working with the local authorities.” Fort Jackson Command Sergeant Major Philson Tavernier tweeted that the “Department of Justice at the federal level is also looking into the incident. . . . The command team, our Criminal Investigation Division (Army CID) agents, and our Staff Judge Advocate teams are all engaged with their professional counterparts and civil authorities to seek the facts which will determine how the investigations progress.”
Come nightfall on Wednesday, Pentland’s home was surrounded and under siege by agitators hurling objects through the windows of his home. “The protests at the Pentland home have become violent,” tweeted RCSD. “The family was removed after it was vandalized. They were moved to another location and the neighborhood is being closed off except to residents. Please stay out of the area.”
Beyond the Viral Footage
The irony, of course, is that Pentland appears to have been sacrificed on the altar for the mob by the sheriff’s department.
During the Wednesday press conference, Sheriff Lott said that his officers did not have evidence to charge Pentland with more than the initial property damage crime. Lott said that the video was the evidence needed to charge Pentland. “He put his hands on somebody, that’s assault and battery when you place your hands on someone.” But the incident report states that the officers who reviewed the cellphone footage saw “Jonathan pushing [redacted] because [he] was walking towards Jonathan’s wife, that was on her property.”
Did Lott lie? That’s what it looks like. Either that, or he doesn’t read his officer’s incident reports. “This shows what our community can do when we work together,” he said—which is another way of exalting mob justice.
The officers saw Pentland shove Deandre away from his wife, and that protective push only seems to have transformed into the basis of an assault charge after RCSD faced pressure to crucify Pentland. One would think Castle Doctrine in South Carolina would provide robust protection for Pentland preventing Deandre coming onto his property to accost his wife. S.C. Code Section 16-11-440(C) states:
[a] person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in another place where he has a right to be, including, but not limited to, his place of business, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or another person or to prevent the commission of a violent crime.
Further, Lott also confessed that there “were some other things that occurred—that really doesn’t justify the actions of [Pentland].” Indeed, the viral footage doesn’t show what sparked the confrontation, or why Pentland and his wife’s comments suggested familiarity with Deandre, or that, as the Washington Post reported, deputies were told Deandre approached “several neighbors in a threatening manner” and that someone had asked Pentland to “intervene.”
As it turns out, Deandre’s crime was not, as Johnson claimed, merely “walking while black.”
“Two reports of alleged assault were also made against the young man after deputies responded Monday, according to the sheriff’s department, and they are being investigated,” the Post noted. Most media outlets, including the Army Times, haven’t mentioned this.
According to the Post, on April 8, one incident report says, Deandre “allegedly put his arm around a woman’s waist, put his hand down the right side of her shorts and then put his arm back around her waist as her pants were partly down.” And on April 10, another report alleges Deandre “repeatedly picked up a baby without permission and tried to walk away.” A second video shows a witness who says a woman claimed Deandre “sexually assaulted her daughter” and “tugged” on her shirt, and that she ran to Pentland for help. Another witness talking to the hosts of “The Real” panel show said that a woman in the neighborhood recognized Deandre and warned her “daughter-in-law to get back in the house” upon seeing him.
The reactions these witnesses reported to Deandre’s presence suggest that the community was familiar with and felt threatened by him—a response that corresponds with the two reports of alleged assault against him.
A Bigger, Disturbing Picture
Pentland confronted Deandre on April 12, four days after he sexually harassed one woman and two days after he attempted what most people would consider kidnapping. That would explain Pentland’s anger at seeing Deandre, once again, in the neighborhood, walking free under RCSD’s watch. Put another way, Pentland was asked to confront Deandre because the police did not do their job—and in fact, it seems they went out of their way to keep Deandre on the streets.
According to RCSD, Deandre has “an underlying medical condition that may explain the behavior exhibited in the alleged incidents.” Heavy, one of the few outlets reporting on the April 8 and April 10 incidents, also notes that the “Richland County Sheriff’s Department said the victim has an underlying medical condition and the RCSD is working to get him help he needs in order to divert him from the criminal justice system.” Of course, Pentland won’t be spared the criminal justice system, and it’s not clear Deandre is a stranger to it himself.
On January 30, “Deandre Williams” appeared in a local Columbia, South Carolina news story, portrayed as a “vulnerable adult” with a “medical condition.” Recent South Carolina Court records for one “Deandre Demetrius Williams” show “malicious/malicious injury to animals, personal property,” drug possession, “trespassing/entering premise after warning or refusing to leave on request,” in the Richland County and Pontiac Magistrate court agencies.
Even if it’s true that Deandre has a medical condition, RCSD failed to keep the community safe by allowing him to go free on more than one occasion, and put Pentland in the position of reluctant protector. According to Lott, however, it is a worse crime to confront a black deviant than it is for them to put their hands down a woman’s pants or attempt to take a baby.
It’s hard to avoid coming away with the impression that the Army, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, and the mob have destroyed Jonathan Pentland’s life, put his family in danger, and destroyed his name. For protecting his community when called upon, the 10th Mountain Division with whom Pentland served called him an “extremist.” Who would die for this?
America loved its heroes in the past. Movies like “Die Hard” immortalized in our popular culture the quintessential everyman, reluctant hero. After John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, interrupts Hans Gruber’s plans, the villain grills McClane over the radio on his motives. “Just another American who saw too many movies as a child?” Gruber inquires. “Another orphan of a bankrupt culture who thinks he’s John Wayne, Rambo, Marshal Dillon?” McClane defiantly signs off with the now immortal “Yippee Ki Yay” line.
But America now appears to hate heroes. Our elites, our ruling class—and those allied with them—do not deserve Pentlands or John McClanes. “You don’t deserve to serve another second in the United States Army,” yelled an agitator at Pentland’s home on Wednesday. The opposite is true—as an institution today, the military does not deserve the blood its soldiers have shed and are willing to shed. And bureaucrats with badges do not deserve the “back the blue” support they have long enjoyed from the Right.
For now, Pentland has retreated from the spotlight. His Instagram profile reads simply, “Nothing to say.” That’s understandable, considering the way the country he has served has treated him.
But his case should be understood as part of a bigger, disturbing picture.
Police in Retreat—Now What?
Law enforcement across the country have retreated from policing black crime in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. As a result, violent crime has exploded. According to Jason Johnson, the former deputy police commissioner for Baltimore, preliminary FBI data for 2020 points to a 25 percent surge in murders—the largest single year increase since the agency began publishing uniform data in 1960. The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund examined those soaring murder rates in the country’s major cities and found that “tangible de-policing,” which started in June 2020 amid anti-police protests and policy decisions, fueled the rising tide of homicide.
In places like New York, random attacks on civilians are increasingly common, often in connection to a so-called “knockout game,” where thugs sucker-punch random people—sometimes with deadly consequences. As with murders, most of the weight of criminality rests disportionately on black suspects. In Philadelphia, roving black motorcyclists cause car collisions—then mercilessly maul drivers in the streets, pulling guns on their victims.
Pentland’s case shows “de-policing” is a misnomer. Police are retreating from violent black crime but citizens—especially white citizens—are forbidden from protecting themselves.
Big-city police departments, and even sheriff’s departments where the county’s top lawmen are elected—Leon Lott won Richland County’s Democratic primary for sheriff in 2020—are still policing, but they mostly exist to repress everyday Americans, upholding a system of anarcho-tyranny. The Right must therefore think about law enforcement and the military differently because blindly standing with the enforcers of the managerial regime is tantamount to a long, agonizing suicide. Along with slashing a hostile Department of Defense budget, the Right should seriously consider defunding some of the police as an act of self-defense, and learn to fight fire with fire.