The police chief of Windsor, Virginia — the town where a Black army vet was confronted by two officers — doesn’t believe the lieutenant is owed an apology.
During a recent press conference on Wednesday (April 14), Windsor Police Department Chief Rodney D. Riddle discussed the incident that ended with Army Lt. Caron Nazario being pepper sprayed by officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker.
As previously reported by REVOLT, Nazario was pulled over at a traffic stop after he was caught driving without a rear license tag. When instructed to exit his vehicle, he asked the cops to explain why he was stopped.
His refusal to get out of his car angered the officers who pepper sprayed him, dragged him out of his car and placed him in handcuffs, all before realizing the rear tag was taped onto the vehicle the entire time.
While addressing the incident, Riddle praised the officers for responding “relatively well” ahead of the actual traffic stop. “There were certain actions that Mr. Nazario took that raised red flags for those officers based on their training,” he said. “They may be dealing with something beyond an ordinary run-of-the-mill stop. Those officers initially reacted relatively well in my opinion.”
The police chief also took accountability for their shortcomings. “I’m gonna own what we did,” he said. “My guys missed opportunities to verbally de-escalate that thing and change that outcome.”
When a reporter later asked whether he thinks Nazario deserves an apology, Riddle honestly replied, ”I don’t believe that,” and said that he wished the veteran “would have complied a whole lot earlier.”
Following the incident, Nazario filed a lawsuit against Gutierrez and Crocker. His attorneys argue that the Windsor police chief is continuing “a false narrative and victim blaming.” They maintain that their client complied with the officers’ request to stop and responded quickly to each of their commands.
Crocker has since been disciplined for his involvement, and Gutierrez was fired from his position as Riddle lost confidence in his ability to “effectively engage this community.”
A joint probe by the Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation remains active.