What to Know
The Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson was pulled over by Virginia State Police on Tuesday
Richardson later tweeted about the traffic stop, alleging the officer asked him inappropriate, racially charged questions
A Virginia State Police spokesperson says the department is investigating
The Washington Redskins welcomed wide receiver Paul Richardson with open arms in March, but Richardson says he didn’t receive similar treatment when a Virginia State Police Officer pulled him over and allegedly asked if he was in a gang.
Virginia State Police acknowledge that Richardson was pulled over near the Dulles Toll Road about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. They say that Richardson’s plates weren’t properly displayed on the car.
Richardson tweeted about his experience: “Just got pulled over by Virginia police offer in a toll lane and before asking my name he asked me if I was in a gang, then minutes later told me he thought I was a dealer (drugs). What a welcome to the east coast. Finished up with asking me how much car cost me.”
The charged questions have prompted concern that Richardson was racially profiled by the Virginia State Police officer, who has not yet been named.
“It represents a level of profiling,” NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith told News4.
The tweet has since been deleted. Richardson tweeted again later, saying the allegations were true but tweeting wasn’t the best way to deal with the issue.
It’s true, but tweeting about it wasn’t the right way to deal.
— Paul Richardson Jr (@prichiejr) April 24, 2018
The officer gave Richardson a ticket for failing to have his Mercedes properly registered. But Richardson also tweeted he’s only had the SUV for two weeks and it has temporary registration.
“The allegations are awful. And I don’t think that it certainly represents the best of our community,” Smith said.
Smith then called the stop “an encounter with law enforcement that all too many people of color have first hand experience.”
The Virginia State Police said that no formal complaint had been filed, but they were conducting an investigation.
“While no formal complaint has been filed, the Department is reviewing the matter, to include the trooper’s in-car camera footage of the traffic stop, to determine if the traffic stop was handled in accordance with state police policy,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement.
Richardson did not immediately respond to News4 for comment.