State trooper charged with aggravated assault, fired from SCHP

SCHP trooper John Paul Batista is accused of grabbing a man by the neck and threatening him...
SCHP trooper John Paul Batista is accused of grabbing a man by the neck and threatening him with a knife.(LCSD)
Updated: Mar. 21, 2021 at 10:34 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - A man has been fired from his job as a state trooper after his arrest on felony charges related to the assault of a man in Lexington.

It happened around 11:30 p.m. Friday on Riglaw Circle, in a neighborhood off Platt Springs Road, according to an incident report from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies said John Paul Batista, 27, stopped at a house after seeing a man in the driveway.

Batista, who had worked for the South Carolina Highway Patrol for about two years, asked the man what he was doing there.

When the man said he was on a date, Batista grabbed him by the neck with both hands and slammed into the side of his truck, the incident report states.

Batista is accused of then pulling out a knife and pointing it at the man he had pinned to the vehicle.

The victim was able to take Batista to the ground and hold him in a way that prevented him from using the knife, the report said.

That’s when someone came out of the house and yelled at Batista, and the men separated.

Batista was wearing a SCHP ball cap at the time of the crime, as well as his badge, which he showed off to the man he assaulted, the report states.

When the victim examined his truck for damage, he found a knife puncture in one of his tires, which was flat.

Deputies said the victim has injuries to his neck and face.

Batista is charged with aggravated assault and vandalism.

SCHP said Batista has been fired. The agency gave WIS the following statement:

“J.P. Batista was terminated from employment with the South Carolina Highway Patrol on March 20th. The former trooper was arrested on March 20th by the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. He was stationed in Troop 1 (Midlands) and had served with SCHP since May 2019.”

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