US Police Officer Fired For Assaulting Soldier (Lt. Caron Nazario)

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Police officer who pepper-sprayed US Army soldier fired

April 13th 2021

A police officer in Virginia has been fired after pointing a gun at, and pepper spraying, a black US army lieutenant during a traffic stop. Army Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario is wearing his uniform in bodycam footage of the incident, filmed in December. “I’m honestly afraid to get out,” he tells two police officers. “Yeah, you should be,” an officer says. Police said he was stopped for failing to display number plates but temporary plates are visible in the video. Lt Nazario filed a lawsuit against the two officers, Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker, this week.

In a statement, officials in the town of Windsor in Virginia said the incident had resulted in “disciplinary action, and department-wide requirements for additional training were implemented beginning in January and continue up to the present”. “Since that time, Officer Gutierrez was also terminated from his employment,” it added. “The Town has also requested an investigation of this event by the Virginia State Police, and joins with elected officials who have called for a full and complete review of the actions of these officers.” On Sunday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said the incident was “disturbing” and had “angered” him.

SOURCE = BBC News

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Police officer fired 4 months after soldier’s traffic stop

April 13th 2021

WINDSOR, Va. — A police officer accused of pepper-spraying and pointing his gun at a Black Army lieutenant in Virginia was fired four months after the traffic stop occurred and two days after videos of the incident drew national attention. William Saunders, who is the Windsor town manager, confirmed in an email Tuesday that police Officer Joe Gutierrez was fired Sunday. Saunders did not elaborate on the timing of Gutierrez’s termination. U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario recently filed a federal lawsuit against Gutierrez and another officer, Daniel Crocker, who remains on the force. Nazario was never charged with a crime and is alleging in his lawsuit that his constitutional rights were violated.

Videos of the December traffic stop in the small town have elicited outrage among many and prompted calls for transparency and further investigation from Virginia’s governor and attorney general. Windsor officials said Sunday that department policy wasn’t followed during the traffic stop and Gutierrez had been fired. But the news release did not say when he was terminated.

SOURCE = ABC News

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Caron Nazario: Windsor police officer fired over pepper-spray traffic stop

April 13th 2021

One of two police officers accused of pepper-spraying and pointing their guns at a Black US army officer during a traffic stop has been fired, a Virginia town announced late on Sunday, hours after the governor called for an independent investigation. Saying it took the action because it “prides itself in its small-town charm and the community wide respect of its police department”, the town of Windsor said it joined calls from elected officials, including Governor Ralph Northam, in requesting an investigation by Virginia state police. In the December 2020 encounter, two officers are accused of drawing their guns, pointing them at army second lieutenant Caron Nazario and using a slang term to suggest he was facing execution.

Nazario, who is Black and Latino, was also pepper-sprayed and knocked to the ground by the officers, Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker, according to the lawsuit he filed earlier this month against them. The two sides in the case dispute what happened but Crocker wrote in a report that he believed Nazario was “eluding police” and he considered it a “high-risk traffic stop”. Attorney Jonathan Arthur said Nazario wasn’t trying to elude the officer but was trying to stop in a well-lit area.

SOURCE = The Guardian

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NAACP calls to end qualified immunity in Virginia after police officer pepper-sprayed Black and Latino Army officer

April 13th 2021

A Virginia police officer accused of pepper-spraying a Black and Latino military officer and forcing him to the ground during a traffic stop in December has been fired, a Town of Windsor official said.  Army Lt. Caron Nazario has filed suit seeking more than $1 million against police officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker, and video from the officers’ body cameras and Nazario’s cellphone went viral last week. Windsor, Virginia, with a population of 2,600, has a police force of about a half dozen officers, according to the town’s website. Following an internal investigation, Gutierrez was fired and additional officer training was implemented, Windsor Town Manager William Saunders said in a statement Sunday.

“The Town has also requested an investigation of this event by the Virginia State Police, and joins with elected officials who have called for a full and complete review of the actions of these officers,” Saunders said, adding that “we are saddened for events like this to cast our community in a negative light.” Virginia’s governor, attorney general, a congressman and the NAACP were among those expressing outrage at the actions of Windsor police officers in recent days. Valerie Butler, President of the Isle of Wright NAACP branch, also called for an end to qualified immunity in Virginia during a news conference Monday. 

SOURCE = USA Today

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