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Army Officer Says Cops Threatened His Career

Caron Nazario alleges misconduct
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 11, 2021 7:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – A second lieutenant in the US Army is suing after a December traffic stop in which he alleges he was held at gunpoint, pepper-sprayed, and knocked to the ground by Virginia police officers who suggested he'd be executed before threatening his military career. Per USA Today, Caron Nazario is suing Windsor Police Officers Daniel Crocker and Joe Gutierrez over claims they violated his constitutional rights during the stop, which was caught on body cam video that shows Nazario, who is Black and Latino, dressed in uniform with his hands held in the air outside the driver's side window as he told the armed officers, "I'm honestly afraid to get out." The officers shouted conflicting orders at Nazario, telling him to put his hands out the window while also telling him to open the door and get out, the lawsuit says.

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Gutierrez pepper-sprayed Nazario multiple times as officers yelled for him to get out of the car. When Nazario got out of the vehicle and asked for a supervisor, Gutierrez responded with “knee-strikes” to his legs, knocking him to the ground, the lawsuit says. Per the AP, the two officers struck him multiple times, then handcuffed and interrogated him. At one point, Gutierrez told Nazario he was “fixin’ to ride the lightning,” a reference to the electric chair which was also a line from the movie “The Green Mile,” a film about a Black man facing execution. The suit claims the officers threatened Nazario with "with a series of baseless criminal charges" if he reported them for misconduct. In the police report submitted following the incident, Crocker wrote Nazario was “eluding police” and he considered it a “high-risk traffic stop," per the Washington Post.
(Read more police misconduct stories.)

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