Radford Police release body cam footage of Delegate Chris Hurst traffic stop
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Radford Police Department has released body camera footage from Monday night, when officers say Delegate Chris Hurst was pulled over following vandalism of his opponents’ campaign signs.
According to the police department, Monday evening a Radford City Sheriff’s deputy reported seeing a woman turning over campaign signs at the Radford Rec Center, an election polling precinct.
The deputy then saw the woman get in a car. When the deputy did a traffic stop and requested assistance from a Radford Police officer, the driver of the car was identified as Hurst.
The body camera footage from the Radford City Police Officer sheds more light on what happened following the traffic stop.
As the officer approaches the car, he asked Hurst and his partner if they want to explain their actions.
There is a pause before Hurst responds, “I don’t think so.”
The officer asks again if they want to explain their actions about tampering with the voting site.
“Tampering with the voting site?” Hurst asks, saying he didn’t have anything to say to the officer.
The officer directs his attention to Hurst’s partner in the passenger’s seat, who does not respond.
“That’s really poor, that’s really poor, Chris,” the officer said. “What should I do?”
Hurst replies, “I mean, I don’t know what to tell you officer.”
“You don’t know what to tell me?” asks the officer.
“I mean I don’t know what you’re asking me,” Hurst said. “You’re asking me what should you do, I don’t know I’m not an officer.”
The officer said he wasn’t going to “play word games” with him.
A voice in the background then says, “He’s suspended.”
The officer then asks Hurst, “What are you doing driving?”
“What do you mean?” Hurst replies.
The officer tells Hurst he’s “suspended.”
Hurst asks what he’s suspended for. The officer radios in a question to find the reason for suspension for Hurst. The response over radio is unintelligible, but the officer tells Hurst he will find out more about the suspension.
“I think what you all need to do is after I deal with you here is go back and fix those signs,” the officer said. “What do you think?”
Hurst and his companion do not respond.
The officer continues, “You’ve had to resort to doing this, instead of doing a fair election?” he asks.
Hurst begins to speak but the officer cuts him off.
“Chris, quit playing... Quit playing. You all are up there turning over signs at the polling area and you’re sitting here acting like you don’t know what’s going on?”
Hurst replied, “Well I just think that your reaction seems to be, I don’t know, I really don’t feel like me responding to any questions that an officer has for me that are kind of asking me to make a value statement on my actions is really kind of immaterial to the question here. Here’s what I would say, is that I would, I would think that something that was a little hijinks of steam blowing off is exactly what everybody over on the other side of the mountain does and people all over this district do - "
The officer cuts in, “So you’re going to resort to that and represent us?”
“I need you to just do your job here tonight,” Hurst said, “And I’ll do mine. I have nothing more to say to you, officer. I’m sorry for actions that I may have done or my partner may have done but I think you’re getting a little emotional here -”
The officer replies, “I’m not getting emotional at all. You’re supposed to be representing us. You’re supposed to be representing us. And not our here acting like a school kid. How am I supposed to vote for you if you’re out here doing this?”
Hurst said, “Were you planning on voting for me?”
The officer said, “Well, that’s all up in the air now.”
“I’m sorry if I lost your support, sir,” Hurst said.
The officer then returns to the police vehicle to fill out paperwork.
He later approaches Hurst again, asking if he’s paid his car insurance.
Hurst tells the officer he has not been notified about a license suspension and the officer issues him a notice.
The officer asks if Hurst’s partner can drive the car, saying he’d need to keep Hurst’s license.
“Now can we go make this right? Please?” the officer asks.
“Yes sir,” Hurst replies.
The officer can also be heard instructing someone else to take pictures of the signs.
Hurst did not address the incident publicly until late Tuesday evening, when he told reporters, ”We flipped over a couple of yard signs, took them, put them upside down and then put them right side up, that’s what we did.”
Hurst admitted the signs of Republican candidates were targeted, including his opponent for the 12th District Seat Jason Ballard (R), now identified as the Delegate-elect for the district.
“This has been a real drag out race,” Hurst said Tuesday night. “It’s been very competitive and to some degree it’s been sometimes nasty. Election Eve, you’ve run a really hard race, a very long campaign and you just do a prank to be a goof and it happens to be done by somebody who is very apologetic for what they’ve done.”
He also spoke about why he was driving with a suspended license.
“The ‘93 Jeep didn’t have current insurance for it and I have not received a notice from DMV, so was not something I was aware of until the officers informed me of that,” he said.
He apologized Tuesday night and said he needs to set a better example. He understands if his actions cost him votes on Election Day, but had no plans of conceding late Tuesday night.
Here is the long unedited version of the body cam video, courtesy Radford Police.
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