A uniformed army officer who was sprayed with pepper and had his weapons withdrawn during a traffic stop filed a lawsuit against two cops.
A U.S. Army lieutenant, detained with a gun sprayed with pepper and thrown to the ground by police during a traffic stop in Virginia, is prosecuting the two police officers involved. Caron Nazario, a black and Latin American soldier, was wearing his military gear when Windsor police stopped his jeep on Dec. 20 because they believed there was no rear license plate and tinted windows, according to a federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court. in Norfolk and received from The Virginian-Pilot. Nazario ̵
1; who had recently bought the car and had a temporary cardboard plate on the window – drove for a short time before stopping the car in the lighted parking lot at a nearby gas station. Windsor police officer Daniel Crocker, who initiated the suspension, later described the interaction as “stopping high-risk traffic” and said Nazario had “avoided the police” despite acknowledging the low speed of the army officer, according to a report included in submission. Nazario stopped in the parking lot of the gas station less than a mile and one minute and 40 seconds after Crocker initially turned on his lights, CNN reports. After hearing the call on the radio, a second officer, Joe Gutierrez, arrived to provide a backup, and the two officers immediately drew their weapons and began shouting conflicting instructions to Nazario, who remained seated in the vehicle while questioning why he had been stopped. according to the statement of claim. Nazario told officers he did not try to escape, but stopped in a well-lit area “for the safety of officers and out of respect for officers,” according to the Associated Press. Footage from a camera with the viral body of the incident shows that Nazario raised his hands while the two police officers were instructed to get out of their car. “I’m honestly afraid to get out,” Nazario can be heard telling the officers. “Yes, you must be!” answers one of the officers. They kept shouting for him to get out of the car and started spraying repeatedly inside the car, while Nazario – who was still raising his hands – said he “didn’t even want to reach for his seat belt.” “My hands are relaxed, can you please – look, this is really confusing,” he said. He also told officers that his dog, which was in a cage at the back of the vehicle, was “suffocated” by pepper spray, CNN reported. Nazario got out of the jeep after noticing that he was “reaching for my seat belt” and asked for a guide, but Gutierrez hit his legs with his knee, pushing him to the ground, the suit said, according to the Associated Press. Police handcuffed him and later opened a back window for the dog, which was still trapped inside. Nazario started filming the incident on his mobile phone shortly after he stopped in the parking lot. His lawyers claim that the footage, combined with the footage of the body of the police officers from the incident, creates a disturbing picture. “These cameras filmed behavior in line with the disgusting nationwide trend of law enforcement officials who, believing they could work with impunity, were involved in unprofessional, impartial, racially biased, dangerous and sometimes deadly abuses of power,” it said. in the statement of claim. Gutierrez later said that while Nazario’s desire to stop in a well-lit area was “reasonable” and “happens all the time,” most often when the subject is a minority, the problem is that Nazario did not get out of the vehicle. The lawsuit alleges that officials realized they had “acted illegally” and told him that if he “cooled down and left him,” they would release him without charge. However, it is alleged that if Nazario refuses, he could be charged with obstruction of justice, evading police and assaulting a police officer. In his police report describing the incident, Gutierrez said they decided to release Nazario after considering several options, according to the Virginia pilot. “The reason for this decision is simple; the military is the only place where double danger is applied. This means that whatever has happened in the civilian court, the military can still take action against it. “As a military veteran, I didn’t want his career ruined because of a wrong decision,” he wrote. Windsor Town manager William Saunders told CNN that Gutierrez had been fired as a result of the incident. “At the end of this investigation, it was established that the police policy in Windsor was not followed. This led to disciplinary action and the requirements for additional training throughout the department were introduced in January and continue to this day. “Since then, Officer Gutierrez has also been fired,” a statement issued Sunday said. Crocker remains employed in the department. Windsor police have not yet commented publicly on the case, but Virginia Gov. Ralph Northum posted a statement on Twitter on Sunday. “The Windsor incident is disturbing and annoying – and I’m directing the Virginia State Police to conduct an independent investigation,” Northam said. “Our community has done important work on police reform, but we must continue to work to ensure that Virgin citizens are safe to interact with the police, that law enforcement is fair and just, and that people are held accountable. “Oxygen.com contacted Nazario’s lawyer, but did not receive an immediate response.