Virginia State Trooper Charles Hewitt, who was involved in the violent arrest of a Black man named Derrick Thompson on Apr. 20, 2019 is no longer with the Virginia State Police.
This incident first went public in July of last year when Thompson’s lawyer, Joshua Erlich released video of the arrest recorded on Thompson’s cell phone. As a result, the Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced they would investigate the incident and Hewitt was suspended.
The arrest on Apr. 20, 2019 began when Thompson was stopped for an expired inspection decal. Once Thompson was stopped, one of the officers involved in the stop claimed they could smell cannabis in the car—a dubious claim police often use to justify searching someone’s car.
Hewitt is seen in Thompson’s cell phone video intimidating and threatening him.
“Look at me, I’m a fucking specimen here buddy,” Hewitt says as Thompson narrates what is happening and shows to Hewitt and the cell phone that his hands are up.
“You’re gonna get your fucking ass whooped in front of Lord and all creation,” Hewitt tells Thompson, making eye contact with the phone showing he knew he was being recorded.
“I’m being threatened right now, I am not doing anything,” Thompson says.
Then Hewitt puts his finger in Thompson’s face, screams “I’m giving you until the count of three,” and tells Thompson to get out of the car.
“This officer has threatened me and I’m making it known I am not a threat to this officer,” Thompson says.
“Watch the show folks,” Hewitt says, looking into Thompson’s phone, and smiling.
Then Hewitt puts his arm around Thompson’s neck and pulls him out of the car and onto the road.
“My life is in danger, my life is in danger,” Thompson says.
Thompson’s cell phone falls as Hewitt grabs him so the takedown cannot be seen but Hewitt is heard saying, “How you like that? How you like that?”
Last year when the video was made public, Virginia State Police superintendent, Colonel Gary Settle released a statement: “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.”
According to Thompson’s lawyer Ehrlich who spoke to The Washington Post last year, no cannabis was found in the car.
Hewitt was put on administrative leave while the incident was investigated and has since left the agency—whether he resigned or was fired was not made clear.
The federal lawsuit Thompson’s attorney Erlich filed on behalf of Thompson against Hewitt has been settled for $20,000. Virginia State Police have admitted to no wrongdoing.