Body camera footage from a troubling encounter in Windsor, Virginia has just been released via The Virginian-Pilot. The six-minute visual is from an incident that took place on December 5. It shows two white officers arresting Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario, who is Afro-Latino. Nazario was traveling home on U.S. Route 460 in his new Chevy Tahoe when a police car flashes its lights behind him. That’s when the body camera footage begins.
Immediately upon pulling Nazario over at a BP gas station, the officers jump out of their vehicle with their guns drawn. Nazario places his cellphone on the dashboard to record what takes place. “Put your hands outside the window,” an officer yells.
The same cop repeatedly yells at Nazario, asking him to “get out of the car!” But Nazario, whose dressed in his fatigues, doesn’t budge. Instead, he attempts to ask the officers why he has been pulled over.
“I’m serving this country, and this is how I’m treated?” he asks. “Well, guess what? I’m a veteran too and I learned how to obey,” the officer replies.
“I’m honestly afraid to get out,” Nazario says with his hands up and clearly within the officer’s view.
“Yeah, you should be,” the officers responds. Thankfully, the second lieutenant knows his rights, but when he continues to ask the officers why he is being pulled over things take a turn for the worse. Since Nazario chooses not to leave his vehicle, which is his right, one of the officers pepper-spray him. Then, as he can barely see, they open his front door and pull him to the ground. One officer can be seen, on body camera footage and Nazario’s cell phone, driving his knee into Nazario as he’s hurled onto the concrete. “This is fucked up,” Nazario says repeatedly. “This is fucked up.”
Now, the officers involved are facing a lawsuit. Nazario has hired attorney Johnathon Arthur who filed the suit on April 2. Nazario’s suit claims Windsor police officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker violated his constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.
The traffic stop was a result of Nazario’s SUV not having a rear license plate, the suit states. Since the vehicle was new, Nazario had temporary tags, according to the court documents. It was posted inside of his rear window.
“He’s a sworn member of the United States Army,” said Arthur. He swears an oath to support to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic—and the way these officers behaved, this implicates the oath that he takes.”
Nazario is also alleging he was pulled over due to racial profiling. He hopes his lawsuit will send the message to other rogue police officers, “that this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” Arthur said