HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk State University student who says a state trooper used force against him during a traffic stop is suing two members of the Virginia State Police and its former superintendent for $5 million.
Veron Greenaway claims VSP Trooper Kristian Hughes slammed him to the ground during a traffic stop in Hampton, causing his jaw to shatter and two of his teeth to be knocked out, according to a federal complaint.
The Virginia State Police did not respond to a request for comment by 10 On Your Side.
The stop happened on Interstate 64 near the Hampton Creek Bridge on Feb. 6, 2017. Before he was stopped by police, Greenaway drove onto the interstate shoulder so he could pass a trailer that was blocking traffic, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that “within seconds” of approaching the car, Hughes grabbed Greenaway by the arm, pulled him from the car and pushed him into the door frame.
Still holding Greenaway’s arm, the state trooper allegedly “slammed him to the ground, chin first,” the complaint states.
Greenaway claims that he was bleeding from his mouth and chin when Hughes allegedly got on top of him and handcuffed him, leaving him on his stomach for three minutes before bringing him into a seated position, according to the complaint.
Hughes allegedly questioned Greenaway without reading him his Miranda rights and accused him of stealing the Nike jacket he was wearing. According to the federal complaint, Greenaway worked at a Nike store in the Williamsburg Premium Outlets.
Additional state troopers and emergency medical workers arrived at the scene, but Greenaway wasn’t allowed to get treatment until he was done answering Hughes’ questions. Troopers also allegedly searched his car and took his picture before he was taken to Sentara CarePlex in Hampton, according to the complaint.
He was eventually transferred to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for “a higher level of care and expertise.” In total, Greenaway’s medical and dental bills cost more than $46,000, including having his jaw wired shut for six weeks, court documents state.
As a result of his injuries, Greenaway had to delay his graduation from NSU, the complaint states.
Greenaway also filed suit against former VSP Superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty and Superintendent Col. Gary T. Settle. Summonses were issued to Hughes, Flaherty and Settle on Aug. 1, according to court documents.
A search of the state’s online case information system shows that Greenaway was charged with resisting arrest, reckless driving, possession of marijuana, a safety belt violation and failure to carry or exhibit a license as a result of the traffic stop.
All of those charges were nolle prossed in Hampton General District Court on July 17, 2017. When a charge is nolle prossed, it means the prosecution agrees not to pursue it unless new evidence is presented to them.
Three weeks later, Greenaway was directly indicted into Hampton Circuit Court on four misdemeanor charges stemming from the traffic stop: possession of marijuana, improper passing on the right, a safety belt violation and resisting arrest.
All of the crimes were nolle prossed, except for the resisting arrest charge, which is currently under a judge’s advisement until Feb. 5, 2019.
The court’s online information system shows that at the time of the traffic stop, Greenaway was facing four charges in the Williamsburg-James City County General District Court: Possession/distribution of controlled drug paraphernalia, carrying a concealed weapon, reckless driving and operating with tinted windows.
Those charges stemmed from an incident that happened on Dec. 11, 2016.
In May 2017, he was found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon and reckless driving, both misdemeanors. The other two charges were nolle prossed.
Greenaway’s attorneys declined to comment on the lawsuit.