Charles Hewitt is the Virginia State Trooper who is accused of excessive use of force, assault and battery after his involvement in the traffic stop of motorist Derrick Thompson on April 20, 2019. In a letter sent to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring by Thompson’s lawyer, Thompson said Hewitt “assaulted and terrorized” him during the stop. Thompson recorded the incident after he stopped his car.
Thompson’s lawyer, Joshua Erlich, shared the letter in its entirety with Heavy. Erlich said in his letter to Herring that Thompson was pulled over after a trooper, not Hewitt, alleged Thompson’s inspection sticker had expired. That trooper said she smelled marijuana coming from Thompson’s car. When Thompson refused to allow the trooper to search his vehicle, she called for back-up. Erlich said in the letter it took around 10 minutes for backup to arrive. Hewitt was one of the officers who arrived.
Erlich said when Hewitt asked Thompson to identify himself, Thompson said he was a taxpayer. Hewitt responded by saying, “You pay about 40 cents of state taxes.” Erlich added in a footnote on the first page of the letter, “Hewitt had no information whatsoever regarding Mr. Thompson’s taxable income. This comment was, exclusively, a racist presumption. The comment does, however, appear to be consistent with Hewitt’s beliefs.”
As Thompson states repeatedly that his hands are up and he is not resisting, Hewitt becomes agitated, the video shows. At one point Hewitt turns to the camera and says, “Watch the show folks,” before pulling Thompson from his vehicle. The video does not show the initial moments of Thompson’s traffic stop. When the video begins, three officers can be seen. One is behind Hewitt on the driver’s side. The other is standing by the passenger side door.
At one point in the video, Hewitt shouts at Thompson, “You are going to get your ass whooped in front of f***** Lord and all creation. I am going to give you one more chance. You bring that with you, I’ll let you film the whole thing.”
The Virginia State Police said in a July 15 statement an investigation is ongoing. Colonel Gary Settle, the state police superintendent, said he reviewed the video. “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,” Settle said. Hewitt has been placed on administrative leave, the state police said.
A Voice in the Video Can Be Heard Saying: ‘Please Get off My Neck’
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
In the video, after Thompson is taken from the car, a scuffle can be heard. The video screen goes blank after the phone apparently drops, but a voice can be heard repeatedly saying, “Please get off my neck.” At the same time, another voice can be heard saying, “How do you like that motherf*****?” In posting the video, Thompson’s lawyer, Erlich, added, “Thankfully, Derrick survived.”
In his letter, Erlich said Thompson suffered “cuts and abrasions to his face and left leg” after being thrown to the pavement. Erlich said Thompson believes Hewitt “placed either his elbow or knee on Mr. Thompson’s neck.” When Thompson asked for medical attention, Erlich wrote, Hewitt responded, “You’re not even hurt.”
Erlich wrote in the letter that after Thompson was removed from the car, “The other troopers then searched Mr. Thompson’s vehicle. No evidence of any crime was found in Mr. Thompson’s vehicle.”
Thompson Says Hewitt Said His ‘Own Wife Is Black’ During the Incident
When Thompson was in custody, according to the letter, “Hewitt attempted to explain what had just happened and insisted it had nothing to do with Mr. Thompson’s race. Hewitt told Mr. Thompson that his own wife is black and, therefore, he could not possibly be racist. Mr. Thompson, injured and upset at the events that had just occurred, told Hewitt there was no way in hell a black woman would marry him.” A footnote on that page reads, “Upon information and belief, Hewitt is not married to a black woman.”
The Camden Chronicle-Independent reported in 2011 that Hewitt is a graduate of Emory & Henry College in Emory, Virginia. His wife, a doctor, is also a graduate of the school. The couple has three children together. In a now-deleted interview on Emory & Henry College’s website, Hewitt’s wife said the trooper was deployed to Iraq following graduation.
Thompson’s Lawyer Says Hewitt Is a Fan of the Pro-Donald Trump Facebook Group Team Chepo
In his letter, Erlich said Hewitt was a fan of the Facebook group Team Chepo. The account is a pro-Donald Trump and pro-conservative causes page. Erlich described Team Chepo as being “rampant with transphobic and homophobic images.”
Hewitt Was Paid More Than $62,000 in 2019
There is only one Charles Hewitt in the Virginia State Government directory. Hewitt, 38, joined the Virginia State Police at the age of 29 in July 2011, according to a report from the Camden Chronicle-Independent. Hewitt is a native of Camden, South Carolina, according to the piece.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch published Hewitt’s salary between 2018 and 2019 as being $62,376. That listing gave Hewitt’s work location as Fairfax County.
Hewitt also goes by Chuck Hewitt.