A Virginia state trooper is under investigation for a traffic stop in 2019 during which he can be heard on video telling a Black driver, “You’re going to get your a– whooped,” before forcefully removing the man from his car, authorities said Wednesday.
An attorney for the motorist, Derrick Thompson, tweeted video on Monday from the encounter that Thompson, 28, recorded with his cellphone.
The attorney, Joshua Erlich, also tweeted a letter that he said he sent to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring on Monday alleging Thompson was “unconstitutionally assaulted” and his car was illegally searched on I-495 by Trooper Charles Hewitt and other troopers during the stop. Herring did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
State police Superintendent Col. Gary T. Settle said he has seen the two-minute video and that Hewitt has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
“The conduct displayed by Trooper Hewitt during the course of the traffic stop is not in agreement with the established standards of conduct required of a Virginia trooper,” Col. Settle said in a statement Wednesday. “Nor is it characteristic of the service provided daily across the Commonwealth of Virginia by Virginia State Police personnel.”
Thompson and Hewitt could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. The Southern States Police Benevolent Association, the union representing more than 32,000 law enforcement officers including in Virginia, did not return requests for comment.
State police said in Wednesday’s statement that at 4:15 p.m. on April 20, 2019, Thompson was stopped for an expired inspection decal. During the stop, state police said, the trooper confirmed that Thompson was driving with a suspended driver’s license.
“The trooper also detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside Thompson’s car,” the statement said, adding that additional troopers responded to assist with the stop.
State police said Thompson “refused to comply with the trooper’s repeated requests to exit his vehicle” and after approximately 10 minutes, Hewitt informed him that he was under arrest.
Thompson still refused to exit his vehicle, according to state police. “Thompson was then forcibly removed from the vehicle and taken into custody,” they said.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Janelle Griffith