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One Cop Fired After Army Officer's Pepper Spraying

Virginia State Police will probe Caron Nazario incident
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2021 12:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Sunday ordered the Virginia State Police to investigate the December traffic stop in which an Army second lieutenant was allegedly pepper sprayed, hit, handcuffed, threatened, and had guns drawn on him. Caron Nazario is suing over the incident, which involved two officers from the Windsor Police Department and which was captured on bodycam, and Northam called it "disturbing" and said it "angered" him, the Washington Post reports. He added that while Virginia has worked on police reform, it must continue to improve as well as ensure "people are held accountable" and that everyone must "continue the larger dialogue about [police] reform in our country," Axios reports. The Windsor PD announced late Sunday that one of the officers involved has since been fired, the AP reports.

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Nazario's suit alleges excessive force due to racial profiling (he is Black and Latino). Nazario, a health services administrations officer with the Virginia National Guard who was in uniform at the time, was driving an SUV he'd recently purchased when he was pulled over because it lacked a permanent rear license plate and had tinted windows; he was eventually released without charges, though police had also accused him of eluding them while driving and refusing to comply with demands. His lawyer says he was simply trying to find a well-lit spot to pull over, WTKR reports. The Isle of Wight branch of the NAACP says it is conducting its own probe, and the attorney general says his office is monitoring the situation. (Many other local leaders and officials have also responded.)

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