Sean Groubert
Sean Groubert fired after Levar Jones turned to retrieve his driving licenseYoutube/WLTX

Footage has emerged of the "disturbing" moment a US patrol officer shot an unarmed man after requesting to see his driving license during a routine check.

South Carolina State Trooper Sean Groubert has been charged with assault and battery after shooting Levar Edward Jones at a petrol station in Columbia on 4 September, 2014.

Police released footage of the incident taken from the dashboard camera of Groubert's patrol car following his arrest.

The video shows Groubert pulling Jones over for allegedly not wearing his seatbelt while driving. After asking Jones to get out of the car, Groubert told Jones to hand over his license.

As Jones turns to retrieve his license, Groubert shouts "get out the car" before firing four times.

Jones can be heard apologising to the officer before asking "Why was I shot? All I did was reach for my license. I'm coming from work."

Jones was hit once in the hip and taken to hospital, but his injuries were not life-threatening.

Following the incident, Groubert was arrested and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, a felony offence which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. He has also been fired as a South Carolina state trooper.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Groubert shot at Jones unlawfully. A spokesperson added: "Audio and visual recordings, as well as written statements obtained, are further evidence to indicate the shooting incident was without justification."

South Carolina Highway Patrol Director Leroy Smith described the case as "disturbing".

He added: "Mr Groubert's actions rose to such an extent that his employment with us must be terminated. The facts of this case are disturbing to me, but I believe this case was an isolated incident in which Mr Groubert reacted to a perceived threat where there was none.

"The department's Use of Force Policy makes clear that officers shall use 'only the level of force necessary to accomplish lawful objectives' and that 'the use of force must be discontinued when it becomes apparent to the officer that the force is no longer needed.' That protocol was not followed in this case."