“I’m honestly afraid to get out”: Army Lieutenant Held at Gunpoint and Pepper Sprayed During Traffic Stop
Virginia, United States: Two policemen held an Army lieutenant at gunpoint, sprayed him with pepper spray, and arrested him during an illegal traffic stop.
Authorities said that one of the cops in question – Joe Gutierrez – has since been fired from his position, due to the “unfortunate events that transpired,” according to a statement by the town of Windsor Virginia.
Caron Nazario – who is a Black/Latino second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps – has filed a lawsuit against the town.
After an internal investigation, the town said that Gutierrez did not follow department policy, but they did not provide further information about Daniel Cross – the second officer who was involved.
The town also said the department is in need of additional training.
“The Town of Windsor prides itself in its small-town charm and the community-wide respect of its Police Department,” the town said. “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.”
In the bodycam footage, as well as Nazario’s mobile phone clip, he can be seen sitting in his car with hands stretched out of the window.
“I’ve not committed any crime,” Nazario – who was wearing his army uniform at the time – said.
Then, two police officers order him to get out of the car, drawing their guns.
“I’m honestly afraid to get out,” he said.
“Yeah dude, you should be,” one officer answered.
In the footage, the frightened lieutenant repeatedly asks why he is being pulled over, and one of the officers can be seen kicking and spraying him.
Nazario can also be heard expressing concern for his dog as he says it was choking on pepper spray at the back.
He is then put on the ground and handcuffed while his car is being searched.
“Why am I being treated like this? Why?,” Nazario asks.
“Because you’re not cooperating,” an officer replies.
“You’re fixin’ to ride the lighting, son,” Gutierrez says.
Nazario’s lawyer, Jonathan Arthur, said that his client was afraid if he placed his hands out of the officers’ view, the situation might have become much worse…
“To unbuckle his seatbelt, to do anything, any misstep — he was afraid that they were going to kill him,” he said in an interview with CBS Evening News.
According to the incident rapport, the lieutenant was stopped for not having tags displayed on his vehicle, but the temporary dealer plate can actually be seen in the officer’s bodycam clip. Nazario had recently purchased the SUV.
Nazario was not charged and they released him shortly after.
Virginia police officer fired after Black Army lieutenant is pepper-sprayed and handcuffed during traffic stop https://t.co/4DTftV870V
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 12, 2021
He is now accusing the two cops of using excessive force, illegally searching his vehicle, and violating his constitutional rights.
“What prompted him to file is the need to stop this conduct,” his lawyer said. “The need to hold these two officers accountable and make sure they cannot do it again.”
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said the incident is “disturbing” and added that he is directing the state police to conduct an independent investigation.
In a statement he said:
“I am inviting Army medic Lieutenant Caron Nazario to meet soon—we must all continue the larger dialogue about reform in our country.”
The incident in Windsor is disturbing and angered me—and I am directing the Virginia State Police to conduct an…
See how this shocking incident unfolded by clicking below.
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