Trial set of black soldier suing police for violent stop

NORFOLK, Virginia (AP) — A U.S. Army lieutenant who was pepper sprayed, beaten and handcuffed by police in rural Virginia but never arrested was beaten and wrongfully imprisoned, his claim to a jury that his car was illegally searched.

2020 traffic stop video has millions of views the year after Caron Nazario filed a pending federal lawsuitwhich highlights fears of abuse among black drivers and strengthens scrutiny of the boundaries of reasonable and lawful police action.

episode It also served as a stern signal to many black Americans Military uniforms do not necessarily prevent the abuse of power by law enforcement agencies.

The trial is scheduled to begin Monday in federal court in Richmond.

In the video, Windsor police officers Daniel Crocker and Joe Gutierrez point their guns at a uniformed Nazario behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Tahoe at a gas station. Officers repeatedly ordered Nazario to get out of the SUV, and Gutierrez at one point warned him that he was “trying to ride the lightning” when Nazario didn’t get out.

Nazario held his hand out the driver’s side window and kept asking why he was stopped.

Nazario also said, “Honestly, I’m scared to go outside.”

“It should be,” Gutierrez replied.

Nazario stayed in the car. Gutierrez continued pepper spraying through the open window. According to the complaint, when Nazario got out of the SUV, officers ordered him to the ground and Gutierrez used his knee to punch Nazario in the leg.

Since the traffic stop, Nazario has developed anxiety, depression, and PTSD, according to his lawsuit. I didn’t.

Psychologists have found that Nazario, who is black and Latino, suffers from race-based trauma associated with violent police encounters.

“The police officers involved not only assaulted Mr. Nazario, but also aimed their weapons directly at him and threatened to kill him at some point during the encounter,” the lawsuit alleges. I remember thinking I was going to die that night.

Nazario is suing Crocker and Gutierrez.Crocker still has power, but Gutierrez Laid off in April 2021Nazario sued in the same month.

The men deny they ever threatened to kill Nazario. They claim that Nazario misunderstood Gutierrez’s statement that he was “trying to ride the lightning bolt.” According to court documents, Gutierrez holstered his gun and pulled out a taser while he spoke these words as he was referring to a stun gun rather than an execution.

Crocker and Gutierrez allege that Nazario performed his duties within the law after he did not stop immediately and refused to get out of the vehicle. plus, A federal judge has already found they have a possible cause Stop Nazario with an improperly displayed license plate, evade the police, and indict him for obstruction of justice and disobedience.

“Mr. Nazario remains in the Virginia National Guard to the extent that Mr. Nazario claims mental distress or other psychological injury. There is no evidence that it did,” the trial summary said. Submitted by Gutierrez in late November. “In fact, shortly after the traffic outage, Mr. Nazario was deployed to Washington, D.C. to support his Jan. 6, 2021 riots.”

According to an affidavit, medical worker Nazario said he arrived after the riot broke out.

In addition to Nazario’s lawsuit, the aftermath from the traffic stop includes: state attorney general that Claims Windsor discriminated against black AmericansThe small town is located about 110 kilometers (70 miles) southeast of Richmond.

In August, Special counsel ruled Gutierrez shouldn’t be criminally prosecuted However, it should be investigated for potential civil rights violations.

Special Attorney Anton Bell said in the report, “While the video is highly disturbing and, frankly, disturbing, Gutierrez’s use of force to remove Nazario did not violate state law. .

U.S. District Judge Roderick C. Young also narrowed the scope of Nazario’s case.In August, Young decided that the Federal Indemnity Act would protect Crocker and Gutierrez from Nazario’s allegations that he violated his constitutional protections against excessive force and unjust seizure.

The judge ruled that Nazario could bring wrongful imprisonment, assault, and assault claims to a jury under state law. The judge also found Crocker responsible for illegally searching Nazario’s SUV for guns, leaving the question of damages in that regard to the jury. had.

A jury will also consider whether Gutierrez will be held responsible for illegal investigations. The former officer denies knowing Crocker was conducting a search.

Nazario’s attorneys are expected to present evidence regarding Gutierrez’s work history, including an unpaid suspension for excessive force.

That episode occurred during a 2019 traffic stop while Gutierrez was a sheriff’s deputy on the Isle of Wight County. He aimed his weapon and held it at gunpoint for nearly four minutes before another officer arrived.

While attempting to handcuff the man, Gutierrez grabbed him by the neck and “forced his face against the pavement in an attempt to force him prone,” the findings said.