Fairfax, VA – A Virginia State Police (VSP) trooper who warned a driver that wasn’t cooperating that “you’re going to get your a– whooped in front of f–king Lord and all creation” in a viral video has been fired.
Lawyers for the driver – Derrick Thompson – told The Washington Post that Virginia State Trooper Charles Hewitt was fired for the incident in February.
Attorney Joshua Erlich said the information came out earlier this year while they were negotiating a settlement to the civil rights lawsuit Thompson had filed against the state.
The state of Virginia settled the lawsuit with Thompson for $20,000 in April without admitting any wrongdoing, The Washington Post reported.
“Mr. Thompson filed this case because Trooper Hewitt’s behavior was unconscionable, and Mr. Thompson is happy with the outcome,” Erlich said. “He thought he deserved — and received — monetary compensation. And although the VSP did not admit to any wrongdoing, Mr. Thompson is heartened Trooper Hewitt is no longer on the street and thinks Virginia is safer for it.”
VSP Communications Director Corinne Geller refused to comment beyond confirming that former Trooper Hewitt had in fact been terminated, The Washington Post reported.
The Virginia Attorney General’s Office confirmed the settlement but would not comment on it.
The incident occurred in April of 2019 after Thompson was stopped by Virginia state troopers on his way to work, WTOP reported.
The driver filmed a cell phone video of the traffic stop that went viral.
Thompson refused to comply with troopers’ commands to get out of his vehicle so Trooper Hewitt reached through the car window and unlocked the door so he could open it, the video showed.
The driver narrated the video as the actions occurred.
“This officer is trying to unlock my car. This officer is unlocking my car. They just illegally entered my car. And I’m being forcefully removed,” Thompson told the camera.
Trooper Hewitt appeared in the video to be trying to get the driver’s attention.
“Take a look at me,” Trooper Hewitt told Thompson, leaning into the vehicle. “I’m a f–king specimen right here buddy.”
The state trooper told Thompson he was getting on his last nerve in the video.
“My hands are up, on camera, I am no threat to these officer,” Thompson continued.
“You’re going to get your a– whooped in front of f–king Lord and all creation. I’m giving you one more chance,” Trooper Hewitt warned him in the video.
“My hands are up. I am being threatened. I am being threatened. I am being threatened right now, and I am not doing anything,” Thompson told the camera as the video showed he held his hands in the air.
“You can bring that with you. I’ll let you film the whole thing. I’m giving you a chance,” Trooper Hewitt told Thompson.
“I feel unsafe. I feel unsafe. And I am no threat to these three officers,” the driver continued, ignoring the trooper.
The video showed there was another trooper standing behind Trooper Hewitt, and a third trooper standing on the passenger side of the car.
Trooper Hewitt again told Thompson he could bring his phone with him and continue filming, the video showed.
“I have just been threatened by a law officers as two other officers stand by and say absolutely nothing…” Thompson told the camera.
“I am giving you to the count of three,” Trooper Hewitt said.
Thompson pointed out to the camera that he was not resisting.
Then Trooper Hewitt reached into the car and unbuckled the driver’s seatbelt.
The video showed he carefully removed the strap from around Thompson’s arm but then the driver refused to cooperate so he could be removed from the car and told the trooper to stop touching him.
Trooper Hewitt leaned into the car and wagged his finger in Thompson’s face, the video showed.
“I’m giving you to the count of three,” the trooper yelled at the driver.
Then in a softer voice the trooper warned Thompson, “don’t do it, don’t do it man,” the video showed.
Thompson continued to ignore Trooper Hewitt and talked to his video audience instead, insisting that he was being threatened.
“Now you’re under arrest. Now you’re under arrest for disobeying the lawful commands of an officer,” the trooper told him, still wagging his finger. “I’m giving you to the count of three.”
“One, two… watch the show, folks,” the trooper told the driver’s camera just before he pulled him from the vehicle.
“My life is in danger! My life is in danger!” Thompson yelled as Trooper Hewitt pulled him out of his vehicle.
That’s when the camera was moved and no more video was filmed but audio continued to record as Thompson was taken into custody.
“Get off my neck, sir. You are harming me, you are harming me!” the driver yelled off camera as he was being arrested.
Thompson was charged with obstruction of justice, driving on a suspended license, and with having an expired inspection decal, WJLA reported.
He pleaded guilty to the obstruction charge in August of 2019 and the other charges were dismissed, according to court records.
Thompson was ordered to pay a $250 fine, WJLA reported.
The video of Thompson’s 2019 arrest quickly went viral and the state initiated an investigation into the incident.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano’s office released a statement on Tuesday morning that said he found Trooper Hewitt’s actions distasteful but not illegal, WJLA reported.
“Although this officer could have used a more appropriate demeanor, his actions do not meet the burden of a criminal offense as it currently appears in the Code of Virginia,” Descano said in his statement.
Today, we sent a letter to @MarkHerringVA about Virginia State Trooper Charles Hewitt.
In April 2019, Derrick Thompson was driving to work when Hewitt terrorized and assaulted him. pic.twitter.com/YTSCeDLM9j
— Joshua Erlich (@JoshuaErlich) July 13, 2020
Court records also showed that Thompson was arrested again in September and charged with DWI and resisting arrest, according to WJLA.