US Army Officer Pepper-Sprayed During Traffic Stop Is Suing For $1 Million
A US army officer who was pepper-sprayed during a traffic stop is now seeking $1 million in compensatory damages.
Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario, who is both Black and Latino, is suing two Windsor, Virginia police officers after they reportedly pointed their guns at him, used pepper spray on him and shoved him to the ground.
The incident occurred in December, with officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker reportedly having believed there to be a missing license plate on Nazario’s new SUV.
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In his lawsuit, filed in US District Court, Nazario has claimed that Gutierrez and Crocker had violated his rights guaranteed under the First and Fourth Amendments.
As first reported by The Virginian Pilot, Nazario is claiming unlawful seizure, excessive force, illegal search and violation of his First Amendment right to free speech, as well as common law assault, battery and false imprisonment.
In a statement issued on Sunday, April 11 Windsor officials stated that an internal investigation had been opened at the time of the incident, and had determined that department policy hadn’t been followed.
Officials stated that disciplinary action had been taken and that Gutierrez had since been dismissed from his position. They went on to add that department-wide requirements for additional training had been implemented, as of January.
As per this statement:
The town of Windsor prides itself in its small-town charm and the community wide respect of its police department. 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.
Governor Ralph Northam is now requesting an investigation by Virginia State Police, describing the incident as ‘disturbing’ in a statement:
Our commonwealth has done important work on police reform, but we must keep working to ensure Virginians are safe during interactions with police, the enforcement of laws is fair and equitable, and people are held accountable.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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The Virginian Pilot
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