Virginia prosecutor says Black motorist should never have been pulled over

A Black employee of the Defense Department should not have been stopped by Virginia state troopers, says a prosecutor who dismissed the four charges against her and wants an investigation into what happened.

Juanisha Brooks told CNN she was driving to her Alexandria, Virginia, home on March 6 when she was stopped by a pair of Virginia State Police officers.
A video obtained by CNN shows one of the troopers demanding Brooks get out of her car, but he said he would not tell her why until after she got out. Brooks keeps asking for a reason and is eventually pulled from her vehicle.
Trooper R.G. Hindenlang then tells Brooks the stop was for a taillight that is out, among other factors, the video shows.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, in an April letter to state police, said a review of dashcam footage showed the stop had no legal basis. He cited a state law change prohibiting stops regarding taillights.
Descano asked that the actions of Hindenlang and Trooper S. Kapusta, a trainee, be investigated by the police agency’s internal affairs department. He said Brooks should not have been put in the position of worrying about her safety.
Hindenlang told Brooks she was being arrested for DUI — but a later sobriety test showed she had no alcohol in her system, an investigative report says.
CNN was unable Monday to reach Hindenlang for comment. Kapusta, through state police, declined to comment.
Corinne Geller, a Virginia State Police spokesperson, said the arrest of Brooks was the result of department policy, including determining whether a motorist may be under the influence. Brooks declined to take a sobriety test during the stop.
“Taking Ms. Brooks into custody was due to her persistent refusal to comply with the trooper’s requests,” she wrote in an email.
The request for the investigation comes amid ongoing scrutiny over alleged police misconduct and improper force against people of color.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced last month he was looking into whether there was a “pattern of misconduct” at the Windsor Police Department after two officers pointed guns at a Black and Latino US Army officer, pepper-sprayed him and pushed him to the ground. The Army officer was released without charges.
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