Article by Danielle Edwards, Growth Op
A Virginia State Trooper is now under investigation after footage showed him pulling a Black man out of a car by his neck after claiming to smell cannabis.
The police agency said Derrick Thompson was pulled over last April for having an expired inspection decal when the trooper reportedly smelled the drug in the vehicle, WUSA reports.
The officer called backup to the scene when VSP trooper Charles Hewitt arrived. In the now viral cell phone video, Thompson refuses Hewitt’s request to get out of the car and Hewitt unlocks the door through the window.
“Take a look at me, I am a f**king specimen right here, buddy. You’ve gotten on my last nerve,” Hewitt yells to Thompson. “You’re going to get your a** whooped in front of f**king Lord and all creation.”
With his hands up as he films the incident, Thompson expresses concern for his personal safety and says he doesn’t pose a threat to the officers.
Hewitt moves to unbuckle Thompson from his seat, counts to three and stares into the camera.
“Watch the show, folks,” Hewitt says.
The state trooper then drags Thompson out of the car and onto the road in a chokehold.
Once Thompson is pulled from the car, the phone falls and neither Thompson or Hewitt are visible. Thompson is heard saying “Sir, please get off my neck, I am not resisting.”
The state police said Thompson was arrested and taken to Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and treated for an injury to his forehead.
Earlier this week, VSP announced Hewitt had been placed on administrative leave as the criminal investigation into the incident was launched.
“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,” said VSP Superintendent Colonel Gary Settle in a statement.
Joshua Erlich, Thompson’s attorney, said Thompson had a difficult time deciding to come forward with his story, but had yet to file a lawsuit against Hewitt or the VSP with the hopes the matter could be dealt with informally.
Though he was pleased to see the VSP take action against Hewitt, Erlich said he and his client still have concerns about the incident.