A Virginia state trooper is being investigated after a video from April 2019 surfaced online. The footage, recorded by a motorist during a traffic stop, shows an aggressive cop, forcefully ripping the man from his vehicle and taking him to the ground.
“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. Nor is it characteristic of the service provided daily across the Commonwealth of Virginia by Virginia State Police personnel,” Colonel Gary T. Settle wrote in a release.
According to Settle’s statement, the Virginia State police had no knowledge of the matter prior to the video’s July 13 surfacing on social media. They also added that no complaints were made by the victim, Derrick T. Thompson, a resident of Woodbridge.
From the video, viewers can see a seemingly fearful Thompson as he records three officers surrounding his car. Hewitt, who is now being investigated, escalated the stop by positioning his body inside the vehicle. “This police officer is trying to unlock my car,” Thompson says to the camera as Hewitt tries to forcefully remove him. “You’re going to get your a— whooped in front of Lord and all creation,” the officer says in response to Thompson’s trepidations.
Though Hewitt claims to be giving Thompson “a chance” the motorist continues to proclaim that he feels unsafe depitae not doing anything to provoke aggressive action from the officers. “I’ve been threatened by a law officer as two other officers stand by and participate.”
After Hewitt unbuckles Thompson’s seatbelt and offers one more warning, he grabs Thompson by the neck and drags him from his vehicle. “How do you like this mother —,” Hewitt can be heard saying. “How do you like that?”
Though footage of the encounter ends with Thompson’s removal from the vehicle, cell phone audio picks up his pleas for the officers to stop engaging with him. “Please get off my neck,” Thompson screams at the Virginia trooper. “You are harming me.”
Thompson is said to have been pulled over for “driving on an expired inspection decal.” After he was stopped, police claim there was a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car. He was also driving on a suspended license. Thompson was taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center where he was charged with obstruction of justice in addition to charges for his expired decal and license. Though a medical evaluation was given for minor abrasions, a use of force investigation was never initiated, despite it being the policy.
According to WAVY News, Thompson has retained an attorney and is seeking punitive damages of an unspecified amount.