No Apology Is Owed For Pepper-Spraying Army Lieutenant In Virginia, Police Chief Says

A Virginia police chief has said that the Army lieutenant who was pepper-sprayed during a recent traffic stop deserves no apology.

Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario was stopped by officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker at a petrol station in Windsor last December after suspecting his new SUV did not have a license plate. The officers’ bodycam footage from that day quickly went viral after it was released and many people saw a problem with the way the officers handled the situation.

Following the incident, Chief Rodney Riddle talked to the press regarding the criticism around the footage. According to him, the officers who accosted Nazario do not owe him an apology.

He told NBC 29 the following:

“I can’t speak for him, but I’m gonna own up to what we did. My guys missed opportunities to verbally de-escalate that thing and change that outcome.”

And when someone asked if Nazario should receive an official apology, Chief Riddle said:

“I don’t believe that.,” adding that it would have been easier if he “complied a whole lot earlier.”

He continued:

“Lieutenant Nazario took certain actions that created where we got to, and I think that you know… we’ll let the courts work that part of it out. At the end of the day, I’m glad nobody got hurt. That situation ended in the best way that it could have.”

He also noted that Gutierrez faced disciplinary action after the incident and was let go from his position after the clip was released to the web.

He said:

“As this thing kind of gathered legs and became viral, I personally felt there was personally no way he could effectively serve the community at that point,” adding “That incident is out there it’s over it’s done. We can’t take it back, we can’t fix it, but what we have is an opportunity to learn and to grow and to teach our officers to get some more input from our community.”

In response to Chief Riddle’s statements, community activist Brandon Randleman told the media:

“We cannot believe some of the things that were said during the press conference. It’s time for this police chief to go. How do you as a leader state that… I did not discipline someone because of their actions, I only disciplined because the whole world is watching? That’s not a leader.”

USA Today reported that the lieutenant’s legal team said the chief is ‘continuing a false narrative’ in which Nazario is being blamed for what happened.

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