Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A second lieutenant in the U.S. Army is suing two Virginia police officers over a traffic stop last December during which the officers drew their guns, pointed them at him and used a slang term to suggest he was facing execution before pepper-spraying him and knocking him to the ground.

Body camera footage shows Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, was dressed in uniform with his hands held in the air outside the driver’s side window as he told the armed officers, “I’m honestly afraid to get out.”

“Yeah, you should be!” one of the officers responded during the stop at a gas station.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, Nazario says his constitutional rights were violated during the traffic stop in the town of Windsor. The two sides in the case dispute what happened after a second police officer joined the first one in the stop. At the time, Nazario was coming from his duty station and going home, attorney Jonathan Arthur told The Associated Press on Friday.

“Graduated from Virginia State University. He was commissioned out of their ROTC program. He’s an officer in the United States armed forces,” Arthur said. “These guys decide to do this to him.”

Asked about Nazario’s condition after the incident, Arthur said, “He’s definitely not doing too well.”

Windsor Police Officer Daniel Crocker radioed he was attempting to stop a vehicle with no rear license plate and tinted windows. He said the driver was “eluding police” and he considered it a “high-risk traffic stop,” according to a report he submitted afterward and which was included in the court filing.

Arthur said Nazario explained at the time that he wasn’t trying to elude the officer, but was trying to stop in a well-lit area “for officer safety and out of respect for the officers.”

Another officer, Joe Gutierrez, was driving by when he heard Crocker’s call, saw him attempting to stop the SUV and decided to join the traffic stop. Gutierrez acknowledged that Nazario’s decision to drive to a lighted area happens to him “a lot, and 80% of the time, it’s a minority,” Arthur said, quoting the officer.

The lawsuit says by the time the two officers reached Nazario’s SUV, the license plate was visible in the rear.

Nazario drove his SUV to a well-lit gas station where, according to the lawsuit, the two officers got out and immediately drew their guns and pointed them at Nazario after they got out of their cars. The officers then attempted to pull Nazario out of the vehicle while he continued to keep his hands in the air. Gutierrez then stepped back and pepper-sprayed Nazario multiple times as officers yelled for him to get out of the car.

“I don’t even want to reach for my seatbelt, can you please? ... My hands are out, can you please — look, this is really messed up,” Nazario stammered upon being pepper-sprayed, his eyes clenched shut.

The officers shouted conflicting orders at Nazario, telling him to put his hands out the window while also telling him to open the door and get out, the lawsuit says. At one point, Gutierrez told Nazario he was “fixin’ to ride the lightning,” a reference to the electric chair which was also a line from the movie “The Green Mile,” a film about a Black man facing execution.

Nazario got out of the vehicle and again asked for a supervisor. Gutierrez responded with “knee-strikes” to his legs, knocking him to the ground, the lawsuit says. The two officers struck him multiple times, then handcuffed and interrogated him.

The traffic stop was captured on Nazario’s cellphone video, and the body-worn cameras worn by Crocker and Gutierrez, according to the lawsuit.

“These cameras captured footage of behavior consistent with a disgusting nationwide trend of law enforcement officers, who, believing they can operate with complete impunity, engage in unprofessional, discourteous, racially biased, dangerous and sometimes deadly abuses of authority ...” the lawsuit says.

The AP reached out to Windsor police for comment, but an email was not returned and their voice mailbox was full. No one answered the phone at a number listed for Crocker on Friday.

Crocker and Gutierrez still work for the department, the town manager told The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk. Windsor is about 70 miles (112 kilometers) southeast of Richmond.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/caron-n ... 4b3bdbd4ba

Driving while black in Virginia.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer-Kissinger
Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired.-Swift

Re: Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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This whole situation is fucked up but, I have an issue with this article.
At one point, Gutierrez told Nazario he was “fixin’ to ride the lightning,” a reference to the electric chair which was also a line from the movie “The Green Mile,” a film about a Black man facing execution.
ok so what the cop probably meant was he was going to use his taser not that he was going to send the guy to the electric chair.

Re: Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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sikacz wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 7:36 am Doesn’t make a difference what was meant by that one statement. It’s the totality of the behavior by the police that was inappropriate. The officers should be tried by the video evidence available.
Oh for sure, the behavior was abhorant, but if I as a private citizen threaten to kill someone, I'd be going to jail over it, and rightfully so. A badge doesn't give you carte blanche to act like a Judge Dred LARPer when you have actual power and immunity hiding behind a badge...

I'm of two mindsets at the same time: The labor rights advocate in me thinks that protecting the rights of all workers is crucial. However, If cops like this were open to civil penalties for their bad behavior (including loss of pension) this would stop really quick.

Re: Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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It's in federal court now, the video will be important.
Lieutenant Nazario, 27, a graduate of Virginia State University, filed a lawsuit this month in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. It accuses the officers of illegally searching his car, using excessive force and violating his rights under the First Amendment. The lawsuit seeks $1 million in compensatory damages.

Lieutenant Nazario also accused the officers of threatening to destroy his military career by charging him with multiple crimes if he complained about their conduct, according to the complaint, which was reported this week by The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk.
The police officers did not arrest Lieutenant Nazario and have not filed charges.
In a report from that night the officers said they had pulled over Lieutenant Nazario because his S.U.V. did not have license plates. Lieutenant Nazario said he had recently bought a Chevrolet Tahoe and was waiting for license plates. Temporary ones had been taped inside the rear window and were visible, according to the lawsuit.
Lieutenant Nazario’s lawyer, Jonathan Arthur, said the lieutenant had told his supervisors about the stop almost immediately.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/10/us/c ... ginia.html

Bodycam video:
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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Is this another case of Driving while Black?

Virginia has a version of the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights and just recently kill a bill that would have removed Qualified Immunity.

https://vacode.org/2016/9.1/5/

https://www.wsls.com/news/virginia/2021 ... ls-defeat/
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer-Kissinger
Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired.-Swift

Re: Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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I live in Virginia. This is scary stuff, and this "qualified immunity" has always been a problem nation-wide. This Lieutenant got near to a Rodney King-style beat-down, from what I can tell. Being behind a badge should never excuse abhorrent behaviour like this.
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Re: Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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I think the VSP or state's attorney or even the AG should review it, but with the lawsuit filed they might decline. Allegations in lawsuits no matter who makes them are a plaintiffs or a defendants statement of what happened, what they allege are the facts. If it goes to trial, both sides will have to prove it in court. Our justice system moves slow and with the pandemic even slower so it could 2022/2023 before this gets into court.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Sunday he is directing Virginia State Police to investigate a traffic stop during which two police officers held an Army second lieutenant at gunpoint months ago in the southeast part of the state. Town officials said later that night that one officer was fired.

Northam (D) said the incident — in which body-camera footage shows police pepper-spraying, striking and handcuffing Caron Nazario — “is disturbing and angered me.” Nazario, 27, who is Black and Latino, filed a lawsuit this month against Windsor officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker that alleges excessive force due to racial profiling.
In a town statement Sunday night, officials said Windsor “acknowledges the unfortunate events that transpired.” It said an internal police investigation showed department policy wasn’t followed during the incident.

“This resulted in disciplinary action, and department-wide requirements for additional training were implemented beginning in January and continue up to the present,” the statement said. “Since that time, Officer Gutierrez was also terminated from his employment.”
Windsor officials said late Sunday they will remain transparent during the investigation, adding that the town called for a state police investigation and supports a review of the officers’ actions.

“The Town of Windsor prides itself in its small-town charm and the community-wide respect of its Police Department,” the statement said. “Due to this, we are saddened for events like this to cast our community in a negative light.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/vi ... story.html
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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featureless wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:45 pm That's one fucked up police interaction. Glad he wasn't murdered.

I think Biden should drop the gun control and focus on police control. Seems a higher calling to help people than restrict them.
Agreed. Police reform or just start all over I wouldn’t care which. I’m leaning to starting over. It seems there is institutionalized violence built into the current culture of policing that just doesn’t seem to be too difficult to root out.
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Re: Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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lurker wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:38 pm the job unfortunately attracts (among others) people who like to exercise authority.
Yes, 'cowboys' and white supremacists along with just dumm ass, poorly trained cops..like the one who thought she had her taser and then shot the guy..even yelled, 'taser, taser, taser'..and then shot him.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mi ... r-n1263817

I thought cops carried the yellow taser on their 'weak side' to prevent this very thing??

Re: Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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Someone on FB pointed out that when a BLACK cop accidently shot and killed a WHITE woman in Minnesota, despite admitting his error and apologizing, got 12 years in prison. Bet this WHITE cop who "accidentally" shot a BLACK man is found to have done "nothing wrong", just like the cop in Kinosha who shot a man 7 times in the back with his hand on the victim's shoulder "did nothing wrong". The video shows her holding her Glock on the young man. I don't know much about Tasers but I wouldn't bet a plug nickel that you can't tell a Taser from a Glock!
""If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." -- LBJ

Re: Virginia Police Caught On Video Drawing Guns On Black Army Lieutenant During Traffic Stop

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ARC1107 wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:01 pm This whole situation is fucked up but, I have an issue with this article.
At one point, Gutierrez told Nazario he was “fixin’ to ride the lightning,” a reference to the electric chair which was also a line from the movie “The Green Mile,” a film about a Black man facing execution.
ok so what the cop probably meant was he was going to use his taser not that he was going to send the guy to the electric chair.
Wouldn’t want to roll those dice in Minneapolis (well, Minneapolis suburb, at least)...

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/04/1 ... rks-unrest

Cop drew her gun instead of her taser, shot & killed a Black man...

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