VA: Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario pepper sprayed, threatened during traffic stop

Virginia Opens Investigation Over Army Officer Who Was Pepper-Sprayed​

The attorney general of Virginia said on Monday that he was investigating whether there was an “unlawful pattern or practice of conduct” at the Windsor Police Department after a uniformed Black U.S. Army medic was held at gunpoint and doused with pepper spray by its officers.

Two members of the Police Department conducted a traffic stop on Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, in December, during which one of the officers, Joe Gutierrez, threatened Lieutenant Nazario before dousing him with pepper spray and pushing him to the ground, according to body camera footage of the episode.

Mr. Gutierrez’s actions were “appalling” and “dangerous,” Mark Herring, the attorney general, said in an interview on CNN on Monday night. <snip>
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Windsor Police Chief Rodney Riddle said he hopes to help regain community trust by revising policies and procedures, increasing officer training, overhauling the department’s hiring process and stepping up on community policing efforts by reducing police’s role in traffic enforcement.

He said some of the initiatives, such as requiring all officers to undergo four hours of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police implicit bias training, is already underway. Others could cost money and need approval from Windsor Town Council.

Riddle is optimistic these efforts will all make a difference.

‘We’re going to get the best information that we can have and the best practices and policies we can put in place to protect our community,” Riddle said.
 

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Court Documents: Motion to dismiss Army lieutenant's lawsuit filed by former Windsor police officer​

A Windsor police officer who was fired after a traffic stop that happened in Dec. 5, 2020, to a U.S. Army lieutenant filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against him.

Joe Gutierrez, the former officer who was involved with the traffic stop of Caron Nazario filed the motion on Friday, May 14, 2021.

The motion states: "Nazario fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted as to his claim for First Amendment Violation as he fails to assert facts to support his allegation that Defendants’ conduct in any way discouraged or affected Plaintiff from engaging in an activity protected by the First Amendment, nor is there any reasonable allegation that Defendants’ normal and routine conduct of completing reports that summarized their encounter with Plaintiff from the perspective of law enforcement resulted in the levying of criminal charges against him."


Fired Windsor officer files motion to dismiss Army officer’s lawsuit following traffic stop incident​

A former Windsor police officer has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a U.S. Army lieutenant following a traffic stop incident which resulted in the soldier being pepper-sprayed.

Joe Gutierrez, one of the two Town of Windsor police officers involved in a traffic stop incident involving Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario, was fired back in April following the incident which occurred in December 2020.

According to an initial lawsuit filed by Nazario in federal court, Nazario was in uniform when he was stopped on Dec. 5.

Nazario is asking for at least $1 million in damages and for the court to rule that the two officers violated his rights, including rights under the Fourth Amendment.
 

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Caron Nazario found guilty for November ticket in Windsor​

Caron Nazario, the Army Reserve officer pepper-sprayed at a traffic stop by former Windsor Police officer Joe Gutierrez back in December, was recently found guilty of speeding in a separate traffic stop in November.

Similar to the incident that went viral earlier this year, Nazario did not pull over immediately after police lights came on.

“It is a traffic stop where Lt. Nazario again waits for a clear, safe space to pull over. A traffic stop where Lt. Nazario remains calm and courteous” said Lt. Nazario’s attorney Jonathan Arthur. “It is a traffic stop that is irrelevant to the deplorable actions of the town of Windsor’s police officers.”

Gutierrez’s attorney is now motioning to dismiss Nazario’s lawsuit brought against the former LEO. They argue Gutierrez’s actions didn’t violate Nazario’s First Amendment rights.
 

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