Charges against a Black woman pulled over and arrested in Fairfax County, Virginia, have been dropped by the county’s commonwealth’s attorney. She now also says those charges have been expunged by a judge. But Juanisha Brooks is demanding further action as a result of the March traffic stop.
Brooks was on the Capital Beltway March 6 when a trooper noticed her driving without headlights on, tailgating and making unsafe lane changes, and was concerned she could be impaired, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police told The Washington Post.
Brooks did not immediately pull over and was hesitant to get out of her car. She was then pulled from her car by trooper Robert Hindenlang.
Brooks refused a sobriety test and was told she was under arrest for driving under the influence. The events were recorded by a police dashcam.
Brooks and her lawyer said a jail Breathalyzer test showed no alcohol in her system. She was charged with resisting arrest, eluding police, failing to have headlights on and reckless driving.
But Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano dismissed the charges. He determined police had no legal basis for pulling her over because a Virginia ban on pulling people over for dark taillights had gone into effect March 1. In a letter to police, Descano also said “dashcam footage does not provide a factual basis to support the warrants.”
Brooks maintains she was profiled before the stop and treated poorly after it because of her race. “On March 6, I was reminded that no amount of accomplishments matter, for the only thing that law enforcement saw was a Black woman as a target,” she said.
Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, told WTOP that there is an internal state police administrative investigation into the traffic stop and arrest, and that because the investigation is ongoing, officials have no further comment on it.
Meanwhile, outside the Fairfax County Courthouse Thursday, Brooks called for action to be taken against Hindenlang, who has been a state trooper for 24 years.
“He broke the law and should face consequences for assaulting me and perjury,” said Brooks, a senior video producer for the Defense Department. “And I want to push for police reform starting with pretextual stops.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.