Video Shows VA Cops Assault, Pepper Spray Uniformed Black Army Officer


The suit, filed by Army officer Caron Nazario on April 2 in the US District Court of Norfolk, Virginia, against Windsor policemen Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker, alleges violations to his constitutional rights, and includes assault, illegal search and illegal detention.

Nazario says the officers' actions comport with a broader pattern of racial discrimination from police officers.

Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario just purchased a new SUV and it had the proper temporary plates on the auto.

The officer then pepper-sprays Nazario-four times, according to TMZ. Nazario, who was recording the encounter on his phone, says he complied with the officers' orders to roll his window down and show them his hands by placing them outside the window.

Footage shows Caron Nazario had his hands in the air as he told the armed officers, "I'm honestly afraid to get out".

Nazario had attempted to explain at the time that he wasn't trying to elude the officer but wanted to stop in a well-lit area "for officer safety and out of respect for the officers", Arthur said, according to AP.

At approximately 6:34 p.m. on December 5, Crocker initiated a traffic stop as Nazario was driving westbound on U.S. Route 460, ostensibly for the lack of a rear license plate, though the temporary tags were affixed to the back of the vehicle and visible to Crocker during the pursuit, the filing claims.

According to the lawsuit, when the two officers got out, they immediately drew their guns and pointed them at Nazario - who is Black and Latino and was dressed in uniform - as he sat in his SUV.

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One of the officers responded, "Yeah, you should be!" These guys decide to do this to him, said Jonathan Arthur, Nazario's attorney, adding that to this day, "he's definitely not doing too well". Nazario says, his hands shaking.

"This is a colloquial expression for an execution, originating from glib reference to execution by the electric chair", the lawsuit states. Nazario can be heard repeatedly asking the officers "What's going on?", to which officer Gutierrez replies, "What's going on?"

In the lawsuit, filed earlier this month, the police officers were said to have "approached with guns pointed at the vehicle, gave opposing instructions to a uniformed soldier behind the wheel, and then pepper-sprayed him - all while threatening him with different charges and levels of violence for non-compliance", Complex reported.

When the officers came close to the door and Nazario was still holding his hands out of the window, the traffic cops tried to force him out of the vehicle.

After the video concluded, Gutierrez administered knee-strikes to Nazario's legs, and Gutierrez and Crocker continued to strike Nazario, according to the filing.

The lawsuit says: "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, risky and sometimes deadly abuses of authority".

The Windsor Police Department did not respond to a CBS News request for comment.