A video went viral last week showing Lieutenant Caron Nazario, a Black and Latino man, being held at gun point, pepper sprayed, threatened and forced to the ground by two police officers over a traffic stop.
Lieutenant Nazario was stopped by Officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker with the Windsor Police Department in Virginia on December 5, 2020. The footage from that night was caught on the officer's body cameras.
Nazario, who was dressed in his full U.S. Army Medical Corps attire, asked repeatedly for the reason he was being pulled over, only to be met with the officers yelling:
"Get out of the car, now!"
This exchange went on for several minutes before the officers stated it was a traffic stop, but no other explanation was given.
Black Army officer held at gunpoint in his car: “I’m honestly afraid to get out.” Cop: “Yeah, you should be.” Cop… https://t.co/c3o4FJD804— Qasim Rashid, Esq. قاسم رشید (@Qasim Rashid, Esq. قاسم رشید)1618020337.0
With his hands raised out the side of the window as instructed, Nazario said:
"I'm honestly afraid to get out."
The officer responded with:
"Yeah, you should be."
That same officer pepper sprayed Nazario multiple times directly into the face with him still in the car. Nazario's dog was in the back of the car as well.
Now blinded by the spray, he tried to explain his seat belt was still on and couldn't get out of the car. He was too afraid to reach to his side and unbuckle himself.
While his eyes were closed he got out of the car as the officers yelled to get on the ground, eventually kicking into the back of his knees to force him down.
"Can you please tell me what's going on?"
"Why am I being treated like this?"
The officers responded:
"Because you're not cooperating. Get on the ground."
The video ended with Lieutenant Nazario sobbing as he's brutally forced to the ground, repeatedly saying:
"This is really f*cked up."
Since the incident, Lieutenant Caron Nazario filed a law suit against the officers for infringing on his fourth amendment rights. The suit is for $million in damages.
Nazario's attorney Jonathan Arthur said this:
"They knew they were in the wrong and they threatened to ruin the man's career if he called them out on it."
According to reports, the reason Nazario was pulled over is his temporary rear license plate was not visible through the tinted windows. Because Nazario was in a dark area when Officer Crocker turned on his blue lights, Nazario decided to drive less than a mile to a gas station that was better lit.
Since the video has gone viral, Gov. Ralph Northam had this to say about the incident:
"Our commonwealth has done important work on police reform, but we must keep working to ensure that Virginians are safe during interactions with police, the enforcement of laws is fair and equitable, and people are held accountable."
Only one officer has been fired. But the department is under a "thorough" investigation.
@AP Why do you need an independent investigation. It's clear and obvious what these officers have done. Fire and… https://t.co/VFeFU87GSN— Anthony G. Marshall (@Anthony G. Marshall)1618193889.0
@AP They aren't doing that out of good will. They're doing it because the city is being sued. This video has been o… https://t.co/WDVm0gpzRz— Frantic Mumbles (@Frantic Mumbles)1618227380.0
@wambamdrebel @AP If an army LT mp pulled me over for a made up crime...and I had my hands up while he pepper spray… https://t.co/e8Zq8g0OEr— That Proud Vet (@That Proud Vet)1618228798.0
@BrianAnthonyBo1 @AP @POTUS @VP That's exactly what I've been saying! History has shown that traffic violations see… https://t.co/0cOwlW6jsM— SEHaley (@SEHaley)1618227213.0
Another man shared he was slammed against the hood of his car, even in his military fatigues.
@AP https://t.co/LvI5sxt3pK— Nabeel1947 🇵🇰🇵🇸🇷🇺🇦🇿🇲🇾🇮🇷🇶🇦🇦🇫 (@Nabeel1947 🇵🇰🇵🇸🇷🇺🇦🇿🇲🇾🇮🇷🇶🇦🇦🇫)1618202355.0
Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger of Virginia tweeted about the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act.
This is why reforms are necessary. This is why we passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in the House tw… https://t.co/GasmbRZ3fJ— Abigail Spanberger (@Abigail Spanberger)1618147653.0
This is why we need legislation (JIP) to combat racial bias in policing, use of excessive force, and police misconduct. 3/4— Abigail Spanberger (@Abigail Spanberger)1618147653.0
This is why it’s so important that Virginia’s General Assembly has passed policing and accountability reform laws.… https://t.co/fQrKsshyKc— Abigail Spanberger (@Abigail Spanberger)1618147653.0
@julibriskman @SpanbergerVA07 I think they should be treated by the law exactly how a private citizen doing this sh… https://t.co/YGJC3JLnoK— Franklin's Valentine (@Franklin's Valentine)1618161362.0
@SpanbergerVA07 More than * Reform Laws* we need *Grants*, which will be used to police our own communities, & figh… https://t.co/oRSTsDfZvF— VoterSuppressionIsJimCrow2 (@VoterSuppressionIsJimCrow2)1618160018.0
Valarie Butler, president of the Isle of Wight chapter of the NAACP, stated they are also launching their own investigation.