A Virginia State Trooper has been fired following a viral video that shows him threatening a black man during a 2019 traffic stop.
Trooper Charles Hewitt pulled over Derrick Thompson in Fairfax County on April 20, 2019.
Video of the incident went viral, showing Hewitt looking into Thompson’s cell phone camera and declaring: ‘Watch the show, folks.’
He then tells Thompson: ‘You’re going to get your a** whooped!’
Thompson’s lawyer, Joshua Erlich, said he was told in talks held during settlement of a lawsuit that Hewitt was fired for cause in February.
A spokeswoman for Virginia State Troopers, Corinne Geller, confirmed that Hewitt was no longer with the force, but said she was prohibited from releasing further details.
Erlich said the federal lawsuit claiming Thompson had been assaulted and had his constitutional rights violated by the trooper was settled this month for $20,000, with no admission of wrongdoing by the state.
‘Mr. Thompson filed this case because Trooper Hewitt’s behavior was unconscionable, and Mr. Thompson is happy with the outcome,’ Erlich told The Washington Post.
‘He thought he deserved — and received — monetary compensation.
‘And although the VSP did not admit to any wrongdoing, Mr. Thompson is heartened Trooper Hewitt is no longer on the street and thinks Virginia is safer for it.’
Thompson was pulled over by Hewitt and several other troopers while driving to his job at the Cheesecake Factory in Tysons Corner.
One of the troopers claimed they smelled marijuana and ordered Thompson to step out of his vehicle, at which point he began filming the encounter on his cell phone.
The two-minute video which Thompson filmed went viral.
‘He just illegally entered my car,’ Thompson tells the camera, referring to Hewitt, who is seen at the window of the vehicle.
Hewitt replies: ‘Take a look at me. I’m a f**king specimen right here, buddy. You are getting on my last nerve. You are gonna get your a** whooped!’
Thompson says: ‘Sir, my hands are up, I’m not threat… I feel unsafe. I have just been threatened by an officer as two other officers stand by and say absolutely nothing.’
Thompson refuses to step out of the car, repeatedly saying that his hands are up and that he is no threat to the officers.
At that point, Hewitt reaches over and unlocks Thompson’s seat belt and yells: ‘I’m giving you to the count of three!’
He then looks directly into the camera and states ‘Watch the show folks!’
Hewitt grabs Thompson around the neck and removes him from the car. At that point, the phone falls and the vision is obscured, but audio is still able to be heard.
‘Sir, get off my neck! I am not resisting! You are harming me!’ Thompson repeatedly says.
Thompson was subsequently arrested for misdemeanor obstruction of justice without force, and pleaded guilty in a district court in early 2020.
Thompson told The Washington Post that the encounter with Hewitt was ‘honestly the worst thing I’ve gone through in my life’.
Virginia State Police superintendent, Col. Gary T. Settle released a statement at the time saying he had watched the video and found that ‘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. ‘
Source: Daily Mail