GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — It’s been nearly three weeks since an 18-year-old was shot and killed by Virginia State Police Troopers in Goochland County. The incident, started with an attempted traffic stop and ended with the death of Xzavier Hill.
The incident was recorded on police dash cam, which Hill’s mother, LaToya Benton, three other family members, and their attorney were allowed to watch. They are directly disputing what police are telling the public.
There are two opposing accounts of what exactly happened during the early morning hours of Jan. 9 and 8News is continuing to follow the latest developments and press for answers.
According to Virginia State Police, at 4:35 a.m., police radar clocked a vehicle going 98 mph in a 65 mph zone. The trooper turned on his emergency lights and siren and as they pursued the vehicle in question, the driver refused to stop and exceeded speeds of 120 mph, prompting a chase.
The driver attempted to make a U-turn around mile marker 172, but the vehicle slid down the embankment and became stuck in the median. State Police said two troopers approached the vehicle, gave the driver orders to exit the vehicle and to show his hands. VSP said the driver displayed a firearm and Hill was shot, dying at the scene. A handgun was later found inside the car.
Mourning the loss of her only child, Benton is sharing her side of the story after watching her son die at the hands of police.
“My baby is in a box. Virginia State Police murdered my son,” Benton told 8News. “I know what I saw, I know what I saw.”
Benton recalled the horrific dash cam video she watched, just two days after suddenly losing her son. She said the entire incident lasted three to four minutes, saying it started when her son was caught in a speed trap while driving on I-64.
“My sister and an attorney heard an officer say ‘yee-haw’ or ‘woo hoo’. They then get behind Xzavier, they didn’t cut their lights on though. They followed my son. Then the guy said in the video ‘you ready?’ He cuts the lights on and Xzavier does accelerate.”
Benton says fifteen seconds later, her left-handed son tries to make a u-turn and goes into an embankment.
“They get out of the car with their guns drawn; they say get out of the car, show me your hands. I’m thinking you just told the boy to get out of the car and show him your hands. Xzavier says in the video, loud and clear ‘OK, my door is open’. The officer goes and reaches for his door and as he’s going like this (Benton slightly moves) they shoot his three times.”
Benton says in the video she saw two troopers firing their weapons at her son, telling 8News her son was shot three times and ‘he didn’t have a chance’. She goes on to say, one bullet struck Hill’s hand and another pierced the back of his neck.
8News directly asked Benton, “Did you see, at any point in the tape, a gun from your son?”
Benton responded, “No, no, and no. I promise you this, I would never lie as a mom and be talking to news stations and have people out in the cold rallying behind my son. If my son was wrong, my son was wrong. I know for a fact he wasn’t wrong.”
Benton says her son isn’t perfect, but no one is. Going on to say people are spinning the story attacking her late son for his driving record.
8News searched online records which show, Hill does have misdemeanor driving infractions, such as a speeding ticket, driving on a suspended license and failure to appear in court, however no record of violence or felony charges.
Benton and her family members have been very vocal online about their feelings and are encouraging people nationwide to share the hashtag #JusticeforXzavierHill. Cries for justice are ringing out, demanding Virginia State Police to release the dash cam video to the public. Dozens of supporters have protested at the Goochland County Courthouse demanding the Commonwealth’s Attorney to release the video.
“They’re hiding something,” said Benton. “They want to paint the typical picture of ‘a black man had a gun and we are going to try to justify it’. Nothing in that video justifies what they did.”
8News filed a Freedom of Information Act request to view the dash cam video, but it was denied, citing an ongoing criminal investigation.
Right now, VSP is investigating their trooper’s actions and is expected to provide their report to Goochland County Commonwealth Attorney Michael Caudill. Caudill will make the ultimate decision if the troopers were just or not in their actions.
Caudill told 8News he will not release any dash cam video until the investigation is complete and confirmed that there is no third-party being brought in to investigate.
As of last check, the troopers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave. Benton says authorities will not tell her the name or badge number of them. She says she has hired a civil rights attorney and wants them both arrested and convicted. However beyond that, she wants real change in the world because this keeps happening to black men.
A state police spokesperson released a statement to 8News:
The Virginia State Police is not publicly releasing the dashcam video because it is a critical component of the ongoing criminal investigation into the Jan. 9, 2021 shooting. The criminal justice investigation is a comprehensive, detailed and lengthy process that requires the preservation of video, documentation, interviews, forensic lab analysis, etc. Upholding the integrity of the ongoing investigative process is paramount to ensuring that justice is achieved for all parties involved in this incident – Mr. Hill and the troopers.
VIRGINIA STATE POLICE