Virginia State Trooper Charles Hewitt has been placed on administrative leave as the police department conducts a use-of-force investigation regarding the trooper’s involvement in an April 2019 traffic stop. A video taken by Derrick Thompson, the Black man driving the vehicle, has gone viral after resurfacing recently and sparking concerns about police brutality.
Officers first pulled Thompson over because his inspection sticker was expired, and because he was driving on a suspended license. Officers then accused the driver of having marijuana in the car, but no drugs were found. The video shows Thompson sitting in the driver’s seat of the car with his arms raised, saying, “Sir, my hands are up. I’m in no threat to the officer.” Hewitt responds by telling Thompson, “You are going to get your a– whupped.”
The officer reaches through the open window of Thompson’s car to unlock and open the door. Right before throwing Thompson to the ground, Hewitt can be heard saying, “One, two, watch the show, folks!” as he looks into the camera. After that point, the video shows nothing but darkness, but the audio of the confrontation continues to be recorded.
“How do you like that, motherf—er? How do you like that?” says Hewitt. In response, Thompson tells the officer he is not resisting and asks the officer to get off of his neck. He was arrested and taken to Fairfax County Jail.
According to Thompson’s attorney, he suffered several injuries as a result of the arrest, including lacerations to the head and leg injuries. Thompson’s attorney also noted that because officers were not wearing body cameras there would not have been any footage of the incident unless his client recorded it.
Virginia State Police say they were not made aware of the video, nor had they learned of any complaints associated with the incident until the footage surfaced on social media.
“The conduct displayed by Trooper (Charles) Hewitt during the course of the traffic stop is not in agreement with the established standards of conduct required of a Virginia trooper. Nor is it characteristic of the service provided daily across the Commonwealth of Virginia by Virginia State Police personnel,” Superintendent Col. Gary T. Settle said in response to the incident.
Thompson was convicted of obstruction of justice despite his apparent cooperation during the encounter. Once the Virginia State Police Department finishes its investigation of the arrest, the Commonwealth’s attorney will make a final decision about Hewitt’s conduct.