Richardson signed with the Washington Redskins, a professional American football team based in the nation's capital that competes in the National Football League (NFL), last month. Before signing with Washington, Richardson played with the Seattle Seahawks after they drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
"Just got pulled over by Virginia police officer in a toll lane and before asking my name he asked me if I was in a gang, then minutes later told me he thought I was a dealer (drugs). What a welcome to the east coast," Richardson wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) April 24, 2018
"I've had this car 2 weeks and this amazing officer gave me a ticket for only having temporary registration. Mind you I have up to 2 months in VA before needing to register it AGAIN in Virginia," he also tweeted.
The two tweets above have since been deleted from Richardson's account. He tweeted later in the day, "It's true, but tweeting about it wasn't the right way to deal."
— Paul Richardson Jr (@prichiejr) April 24, 2018
"It represents a level of profiling," NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith told NBC Washington Tuesday.
"The allegations are awful. And I don't think that it certainly represents the best of our community," Smith added, noting that Richardson's experience was "an encounter with law enforcement that all too many people of color have first-hand experience [with]."
According to police officials, Richardson was pulled over at around 1:30 p.m. at the exit ramp leading from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road to Route 772 in Ashburn, Virginia, because his Mercedes SUV did not have its license plates exhibited as required by law. The athlete was then issued a traffic summons after police discovered that his vehicle was not registered, NBC Washington reported.
Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller said the department became aware of Richardson's claims through his social media account, but said the athlete had never filed an official complaint with the police department.
"While no formal complaint has been filed, the department is reviewing the matter, to include the trooper's in-car camera footage of the traffic stop, to determine if the traffic stop was handled in accordance with the state police policy," Geller said in a recent statement, NBC Washington reported.
On March 15, Richardson signed a five-year contract with the Washington football team worth up to $40 million.