Church Hill viral video shows ‘maybe someone got a break’

Posted at 9:23 PM, Mar 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-05 00:11:27-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Many Central Virginians have seen the video of what witnesses said is a police officer picking up his daughter after she allegedly ran two stop signs in Church Hill.

What could the repercussions of that be?

One man who witnessed the scene said that what he saw that night has caused him to question the integrity of the Richmond Police Department.

“I mean, if it had been any one of us, we would have been lead off in handcuffs,” said S. Preston Duncan, who saw the event happen, and who said he was nearly hit by the driver.

Duncan said he and other witnesses were already out along Broad Street in Church Hill early Sunday morning dealing with an accident, when the woman driving a Fiat nearly hit several people.

He said she blew through two stop signs before a police officer jumped in front of her car to get her to stop.

Duncan says it appears the woman was drunk, and that roughly 30-minutes later a man in yellow, who she referred to as officer and dad, arrived and picked her up instead of her being arrested by the Richmond police officer on scene.

Duncan said she was not given a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.

“When you look at the video, it leads you to believe something underhanded is going on and maybe someone got a break that they shouldn't have,” former Chesterfield Police Captain, Steve Neal said.

Neal said that while witnesses have one account, it may not be what it seems on the surface.

“There are different circumstances you can consider; domestic dispute and maybe they left at a high rate of speed?” pondered Neal.

Richmond police are still conducting an internal investigation but said the man in the yellow sweatshirt seen picking up the woman is not a Richmond police officer.

When reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, police would not elaborate on the investigation.

"They're confidential for a reason," said Kevin Carroll, Chesterfield President of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Carroll said sometimes there are things discovered in internal investigations that don't need to be shared with the public. He said in general, there are different time frames for different organizations with internal investigations.

"The process can be longer depending on how many witnesses there are, how long it takes to interview witnesses, any other evidence," said Carroll.

Neal added that perhaps the officer on scene did know the driver, and the man picking her up, but he added that officers are charged with using their own discretion and sometimes, arresting a person might not always be the best option.