Virginia state prosecutor, Steve Descano. Photo file via ABC 7 News

A Black Woman Fears for Her Life After Getting Pulled Over By Virginia State Trooper

With Black men, women, and children getting killed by police officers, Juanisha Brooks feared for her life when Virginia State Police Trooper, Robert Hindenlang with 24 years on the force, allegedly pulled her over and asked her to step out of the vehicle. According to ABC News 7, it was reported the dashboard camera caught the interaction.

As of March 1st, police officers cannot stop drivers for dark taillights. The dashboard camera shows Brooks driving on the beltway with her taillights off. She gets out of her lane into the right lane, but then suddenly switches back over into the previous lane. She pulls over but then drives off until finally coming to a full stop. When Hindenlang asked why did she pull off Brooks said she thought they were an ambulance. 

Trooper Hindenlang begins pulling Brooks out of her car while she cries out, “What are you doing. Stop. You’re hurting me.” According to the dashboard video camera, Brooks refused to get out of the car for the fear of her life. When Trooper Hindenlang finally gets Brooks out of the car, he slams her against her vehicle and puts her in handcuffs as she cries out in horror.

With the recent police shooting of Daunte Wright, Brooks being fearful begins to cry. Brooks tells the trooper she only had one drink two hours before driving. Trooper Hindenlang asked her was she drunk and why were her eyes watery.

“Because people are being shot by the police. I’m freaking nervous,” said Brooks.

The Troopers arrested Brooks for driving under the influence and 3 misdemeanors, including eluding and obstruction of justice. As reported Monday in a newspaper, Virginia State Prosecutor says Hindenlang had no legal ground to arrest Brooks and is now calling for a police investigation.

According to ABC 7 News, she was later taken to the Fairfax County jail where she took a breathalyzer test twice. According to Brooks and her attorney Patrick M. Blanch, the test results showed her BAC was 0.

The Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office dismissed all of the charges. They submitted a letter to the state police.

“After reviewing the dashcam footage, it appeases that the stop was without proper legal basis given the March 1, 2021 change in the law,” said Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano.

On the other hand, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told the Post the stop and arrest were proper.

“Hindenlang saw Brooks driving without any headlights or taillights, tailgating other vehicles and making unsafe lane changes, which are indicators of an impaired driver and provided reasonable suspicion for the trooper to initiate a traffic stop,” said Geller 

Brooks was taken into custody due to her persistent refusal to comply with the trooper’s requests and because of the trooper’s suspicion that Brooks might have been driving under the influence. 

Brooks works for the Department of Defense as a senior video producer with a top-secret clearance, however, anyone working with or for the department cannot have any charges.

“My whole livelihood was on the line. You can’t have any charges when you have a clearance,” said Brooks.

The department was informed of the incident and questioned Brooks about the arrest. 

“It’s sickening and unacceptable that any member of our community fears for their safety during a routine traffic stop. That’s why I will not rest until we bring about the day when this is no longer the case,” said Descano.

Descano released a statement Tuesday regarding the incident and submitted a letter to Captain Robert P. Chappell Jr. requesting an investigation. Although the charges were dismissed, Attorney Blanch is working to get the charges expunged because, despite no conviction, the charges can still affect her security clearance.  

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