Nationwide — Army Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, was reportedly held at gunpoint and pepper-sprayed by police during a traffic stop in Windsor, Virginia last December. He has since filed a lawsuit against the officers.
A body camera and cell phone video showed Nazario, who was wearing his uniform, inside his car while his hands were out of the window and repeatedly saying he didn’t commit any crime.
Two police officers can be seen in the video with their guns drawn, ordering him to get out. When Nazario said he is afraid to get out, one of the officers replied, “Yeah dude, you should be.”
Nazario continued asking why he was pulled over while his hands are up. But then one of the police officers pepper-sprayed him 4 times before ordering him to the ground and putting him in handcuffs.
The incident report cited Nazario was pulled over because he didn’t have a rear license plate. However, his car seemed to be new and a temporary dealer plate attached to the car’s window can actually be seen in the video.
The incident occurred on December 5, 2020 but the body camera video was released just recently. Nazario is suing the police officers for allegedly violating his Constitutional rights.
“What prompted him to file is the need to stop this conduct,” Attorney Jonathan Arthur, who is representing Nazario, told CBS. “The need to hold these two officers accountable and make sure they cannot do it again.”
TOWN PRESS RELEASE:
The Town of Windsor, Virginia, acknowledges the unfortunate events that transpired on December 5, 2020 involving Lt. Caron Nazario and officers of the Windsor Police Department, Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker.
The pursuit and ultimate stop resulted in the use of pepper spray against Lt. Nazario by Officer Gutierrez. As a result of this use of force, Department policy requires an internal investigation to determine the appropriateness of such actions. The investigation of this event began immediately. At the conclusion of this investigation, it was determined that Windsor Police Department policy was not followed. This resulted in disciplinary action, and department-wide requirements for additional training were implemented beginning in January and continue up to the present. Since that time, Officer Gutierrez was also terminated from his employment.
The Town of Windsor has remained transparent about this event since the initial stop, and has openly provided documents and related video to attorneys for Lt. Nazario. The Town will continue to provide information related to this event in its commitment to openness. The Town has also requested an investigation of this event by the Virginia State Police, and joins with elected officials who have called for a full and complete review of the actions of these officers.
The Town of Windsor prides itself in its small-town charm and the community-wide respect of its Police Department. Due to this, we are saddened for events like this to cast our community in a negative light. Rather than deflect criticism, we have addressed these matters with our personnel administratively, we are reaching out to community stakeholders to engage in dialogue, and commit ourselves to additional discussions in the future.