Virginia State Trooper Charles Hewitt, who was seen in a viral video recorded last year threatening a Black driver and telling the man "You're going to get your a** whooped," before forcefully removing the man from his car, is now facing an investigation.
Though the incident seen in the footage took place in April 2019, it has captured viral attention after being shared this week and became part of a larger movement calling for police reform and highlighting perceived abuses against people of color. As NBC News reported, the video was shared by an attorney representing driver Derrick Thompson, who was seen sitting in the driver's seat of a car and holding his hands in the air as an officer shouted commands at him and appeared to threaten with physical force if he did not comply.
The clip showed that Thompson had been pulled over for a minor violation, yet Hewitt was seen asking the suspect to get out of the vehicle, seemingly getting angry when he did not comply.
"Take a look at me," Hewitt told Thompson. "I'm a f*cking specimen right here, buddy. You have gotten on my last nerve."
Hewitt then told Thompson that he was "going to get [his] a** whooped."
Thompson narrated the incident to the camera, saying that he was being threatened by Hewitt and that three officers also taking part in the traffic stop were doing nothing to stop him. Hewitt then allegedly unbuckled the man's seat buckle slowly and moved his hand out of the way, then appeared to begin pulling him from the car. The camera fell to the floor of the vehicle and the video did not capture the rest of the encounter.
Be warned that the footage below contains scenes and language that some viewers may find disturbing.The attorney, Joshua Erlich, also shared that he sent a letter to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring claiming that Thompson was "unconstitutionally assaulted" and that his vehicle was illegally searched by Hewitt.
The tweet attracted viral attention, and a response from Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Gary T. Settle, who noted that Hewitt has since been placed on administrative leave and faces an investigation.
"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," Settle said in a statement Wednesday. "Nor is it characteristic of the service provided daily across the Commonwealth of Virginia by Virginia State Police personnel."