CORRECTING THE RECORD: On April 25, a Twitter User Posted a Thread about Virginia Beach Police and Sheriff’s Office Staff Allegedly Detaining a Man for Giving Money to a Homeless Man

​FICTIO​N: VBPD and the Sheriff’s Office found no record of a traffic stop matching the description in the tweets. Additional investigation into the alleged incident by neighboring jurisdictions and State Police also yielded no record matching the one depicted in the tweets.

Twitter rumor screen grab​​​​​​The author of the tweets made a number of claims that don’t add up and can’t be verified with law enforcement records. 

For example, the author of the tweets began the account of the evening by saying her boyfriend left Norfolk for Newport News to drop a friend off at the airport at 10:30 p.m., however the last flight left the airport at 8:05 p.m. From there, she claims her boyfriend was on his way home, but ended up at a 7-11 in Virginia Beach.

While at the 7-11, the author claims her boyfriend gave a homeless man some change on his way out. Shortly after leaving, he was allegedly pulled over by a Virginia Beach Police officer who claimed they had received complaints about the homeless man having drugs. Later on, she makes a reference to a “Sheriff Smith” arriving on the scene with three other VBPD officers after her boyfriend was pulled over. 

However, there is no Sheriff Smith in Virginia Beach or any of the cities in Hampton Roads. Now, people sometimes use sheriff and deputy sheriff interchangeably. According to the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office, there are two Deputy Smiths – one was out of town when the stop was alleged to have happened and the other was off duty.

She also made a number of allegations about the conduct of the police officers on the scene, such as a claim of marijuana in the car, an officer drawing his gun on the boyfriend and a search by a K9 where the contents of his car were thrown out during the search. Repeated attempts to contact the poster for additional information went unanswered. Since the story could not be confirmed in any incident reports or dispatch logs, it was impossible to investigate these claims beyond the information alleged in the tweets.

All traffic stops are reported to dispatch by the officer at the scene. The vehicle description and license plate are reported before the police officer even approaches the stopped vehicle. Anyone else who arrives on the scene would similarly report in, leaving a trail of evidence about the stop. 

False reports such as this are concerning; they generate costly and unnecessary investigations and damage the reputations of wrongly accused individuals and the law enforcement agencies they work for.  Allegations of police misconduct are serious and the Virginia Beach Police Department takes them seriously, as evidenced by VBPD’s immediate investigation. Even though VBPD and other local law enforcement agencies responded the same day that there was no truth to the story, thousands of comments in support of the original poster had already been shared.

For more information about the Virginia Beach Police Department, as well as the professional standards division, please visit VBgov.com/police.

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