The NAACP Loudoun Branch is calling for an investigation into Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office deputies after a highly visible traffic stop along Route 7 on July 23.
Kaheem Arkim Smith, the driver traveling westbound on Route 7, said he was “harassed” by deputies investigating a drug case. Deputies said they stopped him for a defective rear brake light.
Smith, who is Black, said in a video shared online that about five LCSO vehicles ended up at the scene and that he was handcuffed and forbidden from filming the search of his vehicle. The video has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook between Smith’s posting and others’.
“They didn’t find [expletive]. I don’t use drugs,” Smith said on the video.
On July 24, the sheriff’s office issued a statement saying it is aware of Smith’s video and the allegations contained therein. The office said the stop was part of an ongoing investigation.
The investigation remained ongoing July 29, as did an internal review of the traffic stop, according to a sheriff’s office spokesman.
The LCSO said Smith was stopped for a defective rear brake light. Then a K9 Unit, trained in narcotics detection, was dispatched, and a K9 indicated the possible presence of drugs, authorities said. A search was conducted, and no narcotics were located.
The sheriff’s office said Smith was issued a warning for the brake light.
The local NAACP branch held a press conference in front of the sheriff’s office on July 24 to bemoan the stop.
“We demand the immediate independent investigation and termination of all LCSO deputies involved in the racial profiling and harassment of Mr. Smith,” NAACP officials said in a prepared statement. “We further demand the immediate formation of an LCSO citizens review board with subpoena power. Discrimination and hate cannot have a home in Loudoun.”
The LCSO said a complaint has been filed with the agency, and that “all complaints are investigated to the fullest extent and all disciplinary measures are vetted outside of the LCSO by the Loudoun County Government Human Resources Department and the County Attorney’s Office.”
This story has been updated from its initial posting on July 24.