The internet has a vast collection of videos and news articles regarding police brutality. From George Floyde, Daniel Prude, Breonna Taylor, and many more, countless incidents have happened involving minorities and the police. It is always sad to witness a fellow citizen facing a dangerous situation involving cops that result in death. Thankfully that wasn’t the case with U.S Army lieutenant Caron Nazario as he will be suing the officers that pulled him out of his vehicle and pepper-sprayed him without telling him any information on why he was getting pulled over in the first place.
Videos of the body cam footage flood the internet as the case proceeds. The incident happened on December 5th, 2020, in a gas station. The video shows the two officers approaching Nazario, telling him to get out of the car. The confused Lieutenant had his hands in a resting position, asking about the issue to better understand why he was asked to get out of the vehicle.
The surfaced video starts with Nazario Expressing his fear to get out of the car as he says, “I’m honestly afraid to get out.”As the young Lieutenant expressed his fear to come out of the vehicle, One of the officers replied, “ you should be” immediately after. “ I don’t even want to reach for my seatbelt, can you please?” The lieutenant made sure he was very calm and was sure not to make any sudden movements that may lead to violence. The situation quickly escalated to Nazario being pepper-sprayed multiple times then pulled out the car with guns drawn at him. He also expressed that he didn’t know what was going on, and his dog was choking from the pepper spray.
Since the night of the incident, Lt. Nazario filed a lawsuit in the U.S District Court for Eastern Virginia in Norfolk. According to the lawsuit filed April 2nd, the two officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker, pulled over a newly bought Chevrolet Tahoe SUV because it was missing a rear license plate. The claims State the officers violated Nazario’s constitutional Rights.
A statement released by officer Crocker claims the lieutenant was “ eluding police,” which he considered Alarming.
Nazario stopped in a well-lighted gas station for his and the officer’s safety. The vehicle was newly purchased and did not yet have permanent plates. Even though the Chevy did not have official plates, it did have a temporary cardboard plate taped inside the window. According to the case filed, as the officer reached inside the vehicle, the temporary plates were visible.
The officers used excessive force without having a probable cause of a crime being committed. Nazario left the scene without being charged.
Crocker’s report expressed he didn’t choose to file charges because the Lieutenant was on active duty and didn’t want to ruin his career. Crocker is still employed by the department
Gutierrez, who is now unemployed, stated that he had to make the decision between charging Nazario with obstruction or nothing at all.
Although the Windsor police department did not release an official statement to the press regarding the matter, Governor Ralph Northam shared his thoughts calling the video “disturbing.”
“ Our commonwealth has done significant work on police reform, But we must keep working to ensure Virginians are safe during interactions with the police, the enforcement of laws is fair and equitable, and people are held accountable.
Since then, the Virginia governor directed the state police to conduct an independent investigation to determine why this event took place.