Criminal charges have been dropped against a Black woman who was forcibly removed from her vehicle by a Virginia State Police trooper during a traffic stop.
According to The Washington Post, Juanisha C. Brooks was pulled over by Virginia State Police Trooper Robert G. Hindenlang while she was driving home back in March. Brooks asked the officer why she was being pulled over, but he refused to say. He did not inform her that her taillights were out. Instead, he told Brooks to exit her car so he could show her why she was being pulled over.
Brooks told Hindenlang that she did not want to get out of her car. The trooper then unlocked her door and violently dragged her out of her vehicle as she begged for him to stop. He spun her against the car and placed her in handcuffs.
Brooks then refused to take a sobriety test after telling Hindenlang that she had one drink. He told her, “You’re under arrest for driving under the influence.”
“Why were your eyes so watery when I pulled up?” Hindenlang asked Brooks.
“Why were my eyes watering?” she answered. “Because people are being shot by the police, I’m freaking nervous.”
After being transported to the Fairfax County jail, Brooks took a breathalyzer two times, which rendered a 0.0 blood alcohol level. She was charged with eluding police, resisting arrest, reckless driving and failing to have headlights on.
Patrick M. Blanch, Brooks’ attorney, said he showed the dashcam video of the arrest to prosecutors. Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano dismissed all charges against Brooks and called for the department to conduct an internal investigation into the arrest. In a letter, he said “the stop was without proper legal basis,” and the “dashcam footage does not provide a factual basis to support the warrants.”
Brooks, who works as a Defense Department employee, said the incident has left her fearing for her life and job. “I’m nervous because I’ve seen so many of these interactions,” she said. “I was having a panic attack. … I felt to get out, I would be putting myself in danger.”