Who is Caron Nazario and why is he suing two Virginia police officers?

ARMY Lieutenant Caron Nazario is suing two Virginia police officers over an encounter in December 2020.

The soldier was allegedly pepper sprayed by the officers multiple times before he was able to exit his vehicle.

Who is Caron Nazario and why is he suing two Virginia police officers?

Caron Nazario is a second lieutenant and a member of the US Army Medical Corps.

He is currently based in Virginia and is of Black and Latino race and ethnicity.

Nazario graduated from Virginia State University and was commissioned out of their ROTC program, according to his attorney Jonathan Arthur.

The army soldier was on his way home from his duty station when he was pulled over by police officers of the Windsor police department.

He is suing the department for the use of force during the traffic stop.

What did the police officers tell Caron Nazario?

The two officers, Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker, allegedly drew their guns and pointed them at Nazario, pepper-sprayed him and knocked him to the ground.

Shocking body camera footage shows Nazario holding both of his hands up and telling the officers he was "honestly afraid to get out" of his car.

"Yea, you should be," replies officer Gutierrez.

At one point, Nazario said he was afraid to put his hands down to take off his seatbelt.

The officers pepper-sprayed him multiple times before he got out of the car, according to body cam footage.

The footage shows officer Gutierrez allegedly telling Nazario he was "fixin' to ride the lightening," a reference from the movie The Green Mile, which is about a black man facing the death penalty.

"This is a colloquial expression for an execution, originating from glib reference to execution by the electric chair," the suit against the officers says.

What does the lawsuit of Caron Nazario say?

The lawsuit, filed in early April states that Nazario's constitutional rights were violated, with his lawyer calling the incident a racially-biased violation of justice.

Officer Crocker alleged that he was attempting to stop a vehicle with no license plate and tinted windows.

He claimed the driver was “eluding police” and considered it a “high-risk traffic stop,” according to a report he submitted afterward, which was included in the court filing.

Nazario’s attorney claimed that his client was not trying to “elude” the officers but rather stop near a well-lit area “for officer safety and out of respect for the officers.”

The lawsuit also states that when the officers approached Nazario’s vehicle the license plate was visible.

Despite being pepper-sprayed, beaten and hand-cuffed in the incident, Nazario was not charged.

The lawsuit also states that Gutierrez hurt him with “knee-strikes” to his legs, knocking him to the ground.

In an incident report, Gutierrez reportedly wrote that he "did not want to see" Nazario's military career "ruined over one erroneous decision."

“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, dangerous and sometimes deadly abuses of authority …” the lawsuit says.

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