ASHBURN, Va. - The Department of Justice wants to speak with Virginia State Police about a traffic stop involving new Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson. He claims a trooper pulled him over and asked him if he was in a gang before asking his name.
FOX 5 has learned the Department of Justice sent an email Wednesday morning asking questions about the incident and indicated they would like to converse with police about the allegations.
Richardson was pulled over in his new Mercedes SUV by a Virginia State Police trooper on Tuesday in Ashburn. Virginia State Police said Richardson did not have proper license plates displayed and was issued a traffic summons for failing to have the car properly registered.
The Redskins wide receiver immediately tweeted about the incident afterwards.
“Just got pulled over by Virginia police officer 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,” Richardson tweeted.
“I’ve had this car 2 weeks and this amazing officer gave me a ticket for only having temporary registration. Mind you I have up to 2 months in Va before needing to register it AGAIN in Virginia,” he posted in a following tweet.
“I have got a call from the Department of Justice's Community Relations Service, which we have been working with on a number of issues here in Loudoun County and they want to talk to the State Police,” said Loudoun County NAACP President Phillip Thompson. “So we will be providing them with some information to let them talk to the State Police and hopefully that will get us somewhere."
Thompson is also urging Richardson to file a formal complaint against Virginia State Police.
He said profiling is an issue in Virginia and gets worse if the driver is young and is driving a nice car.
Richardson has since deleted his tweets about the traffic stop. A source close to the wide receiver said he deleted the posts on his own because he felt like it should be handled internally. Although Richardson does feel he was treated unjustly during the traffic stop, the source said that he feels as a Redskins player, there are other ways to address the situation.
Richardson's agent said his client will have no additional comment beyond what was posted on social media.
However, it appears unlikely he will file any formal complaint.
"That’s terrible and the reason why it's terrible is because what he's doing is he's setting up the next guy,” Thompson said. “By him not stepping up in his position, complaining about this matter and bringing light to it, he is setting up the guy that is not an NFL player. He is setting up the kid that is going to be out there in his parent's car, gets stopped and gets this harassment. So I would hope that Paul Richardson would step up and complete this process officially so that other people can see that this occurs even to millionaires.”
“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,” Virginia State Police said in part in a statement.
The Redskins have not commented about the incident.