Joshua Erlich, the attorney, said the federal lawsuit claiming Derrick Thompson had been assaulted and had his constitutional rights violated by the trooper was settled this month for $20,000, with no admission of wrongdoing by the state. The Virginia Attorney General’s Office confirmed a settlement but did not characterize the deal or offer any other comment. A working phone number could not be located for Hewitt.
"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."
The video, which Erlich first posted on Twitter last summer, has been retweeted thousands of times and was featured widely in news reports, begins after Thompson, 29, of Woodbridge was pulled over on the Beltway in Fairfax County in April 2019 for an expired inspection decal. A trooper who initiated the stop said she could smell marijuana wafting from Thompson’s car, but Erlich said no drugs were found in the vehicle.
Hewitt was one of three troopers at the scene and did all of the talking in the video.
Thompson filmed the encounter with his cellphone. The video shows him sitting behind the wheel of his car claiming that he was not a threat and that a request for him to get out of his vehicle was unlawful. For much of the video, he has his hands raised in the air and he passively resists Hewitt.
At one point, Hewitt leans toward Thompson and yells: “Take a look at me. I am a f---ing specimen right here, buddy. You have gotten on my last nerve, all right?”
Thompson tells Hewitt he has his hands up.
Hewitt then tells him: “You are going to get your a-- whooped.” He then goes on to say: “I’m going to give you one more chance. You can bring that with you — I’ll let you film the whole thing.”
After some more discussion, Hewitt tells Thompson he is being placed under arrest, looks into the camera and says, “Watch the show, folks.”
Hewitt then forcefully removes Thompson from the car, takes him to the ground and arrests him. Thompson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice last year in Fairfax County General District Court.
Geller declined to comment on the video, but Col. Gary T. Settle, the Virginia State Police superintendent, said shortly after it became public that Hewitt’s conduct was inappropriate. A previous internal investigation into his use of force had cleared him of any wrongdoing, and Fairfax County prosecutors declined to press charges against him.
“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 July statement. “Nor is it characteristic of the service provided daily across the Commonwealth of Virginia by Virginia State Police personnel.”