One of two police officers accused of pepper-spraying and pointing their guns at a Black Army officer during a traffic stop has since been fired, a Virginia town announced late Sunday, hours after the governor called for an independent investigation into the case.
The town of Windsor said in a statement that it joined calls from election officials, including Gov. Ralph Northam, in requesting an investigation by Virginia State Police into the December 2020 encounter in which two Windsor officers were accused of drawing their guns, pointing them at U.S. Army second lieutenant Caron Nazario and using a slang term to suggest he was facing execution.
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,” he said.
US Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario was driving his newly-purchased Chevy Tahoe home when two police officers pulled him over in Windsor, Va.on December 5, 2020.
In a federal civil lawsuit filed last week, Nazario said he was driving in a newly purchased Chevrolet Tahoe when he encountered police on U.S. Highway 460 in Windsor. He was in uniform at the time of the stop.
Nazario, who is Black and Latino, conceded in his complaint that he didn’t immediately pull over. He instead put on his emergency lights and continued for another 100 seconds, driving under the speed limit, so he could safely park in a well-lit gas station parking lot less than a mile down the road.
That’s when Windsor police Officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker pulled guns on Nazario, who was accused of driving without license plates, according to the lawsuit and body camera footage.
Nazario insisted he followed police commands to keep his hands outside the window, but officers allegedly became agitated when he asked what justified the escalated pullover.
“What’s going on? You’re fixin’ to ride the lighting, son,” Gutierrez said, according to the lawsuit and body camera video