TOWN OF TAZEWELL, V.a.(WVVA) Town Manager Todd Day has confirmed, two officers with the Town of Tazewell Police Department have been terminated.
“They were both on administrative leave and were given the option to resign or ultimately be terminated,” said Day. “Obviously, neither one of them are still with the Town and I can tell you they didn’t resign, so they were ultimately terminated.”
Last Tuesday, a traffic stop occurred involving a citizen and one of the police officers who was terminated in front of a gas station.
The driver, William Wilson Jr., says he was questioned about his plates and was later ticketed for an item hanging in his rear view window.
While being ticketed, Wilson says a family member noticed a confederate battle flag on the back of the officers clipboard and took a picture.
The Chief of Police David Mills stated the clipboard belonged to another officer with the department.
That officer was also terminated.
Day says the traffic stop investigation is still on-going and could take months before wrapping up.
TOWN OF TAZEWELL, V.a. (WVVA) One picture can say a thousand words, especially a recent photo circulating on social media.
William Wilson Jr. is a Tazewell County native who lives in Tennessee.
While on vacation Tuesday evening, Wilson stopped at a gas station in Tazewell County and that’s when he says, Tazewell police officers approached his vehicle.
“Some activities took place, leaving little to be desired,” said Todd Day, Town Manager of Tazewell.
“That’s when I saw the blue lights,” said Wilson. “The officer asked if I knew why he pulled me over and I told him I had no clue. That’s when he said I didn’t have a front license plate but in Tennessee, they only issue one license plate, so it’s not required to have a front one.”
Due to a pending investigation that started Wednesday, many details of what happened after that moment can’t be confirmed.
But Wilson says he received a ticket.
While signing the ticket, Wilson says his mother noticed the back of the officer’s clipboard, which showed a Confederate battle flag.
“It didn’t belong to the officer that’s in the picture,” said Police Chief David Mills. “It belonged to another officer that wasn’t working.”
But town officials are adamant that action is being taken to find out exactly what occurred that Tuesday night.
“We’re not here to cast guilt or innocence on anyone,” said Town of Tazewell Mayor Michael Hoops. “We’re here to find out the truth.”
“I do believe it was racial profiling,” said Wilson. “Just because of how the officer spoke to me and handled the situation.”
“I’m not going that route and saying it was racial profiling,” said Day. “I’m not going to state it wasn’t either. We’re still looking into it and we’re taking action. That’s a rebel battle flag but society over time has taken that flag and given it to different groups that we don’t condone.”
Day says, Town officials originally contacted the Virginia State Police for assistance with the case; because the incident is not considered a criminal case, the town is handling the investigation.