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Police officer who was filmed pepper-spraying a black Army officer after holding him at gunpoint loses his job


Incident in Virginia took place during a December traffic stop

Image source: YouTube screenshot

A Windsor, Virginia, police officer is out of a job after he was filmed pepper-spraying a uniformed black Army officer after he held him at gunpoint.

What's a brief history here?

The incident took place during a December traffic stop that took place at what appeared to be an area gas station.

Following the incident, 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario sued two Virginia police officers for violating his rights, and Gov. Ralph Northam (D) called for an independent investigation into the cops' treatment of the military officer.

What are the details?

According to a Monday report from Insider, former Officer Joe Gutierrez — one of two law enforcement officials on the scene — lost his job in connection with the incident.

In his lawsuit, Nazario said that Gutierrez and Officer Daniel Crocker violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights during the incident, which saw the officers scream at him to exit his vehicle, point their guns at him, pepper-spray him, and knock him to the ground.

In bodycam footage, Nazario can be heard saying that he is "honestly afraid" to get out of his car.

Gutierrez responds, "Yeah, you should be."

After Nazario fails to open his door and exit the vehicle, Gutierrez pepper-sprays Nazario.

AP News reported that the Town of Windsor said in a statement that it "joined calls from election officials, including Gov. Ralph Northam, in requesting an investigation by Virginia State Police into the December 2020 encounter" in which two Windsor officers were accused of drawing their service weapons, pointing them at Nazario, and "using a slang term to suggest he was facing execution."

It is not known at the time of this writing whether Crocker has, or will, face suspension or termination.

What else?

In an incident report, Crocker wrote that he believed Nazario was "eluding police" and considered the incident to be a "high-risk traffic stop."

Crocker had radioed he was pulling Nazario's vehicle over for not having a license plate, but his bodycam showed there was a cardboard license plate typically used on new cars posted in the rear window.

Attorney Jonathan Arthur told the Associated Press that Nazario was not attempting to elude the officer, but was trying to stop his vehicle at a well-lit location.

In a Sunday statement, Windsor officials said that an internal investigation was launched at the time into the use of force and that it had determined that department policy was not followed.

Officials said that disciplinary action was taken and Gutierrez had since been fired.

"The Town of Windsor prides itself in its small-town charm and the community-wide respect of its police department," the statement said. "Due to this, we are saddened for events like this to cast our community in a negative light. Rather than deflect criticism, we have addressed these matters with our personnel administratively, we are reaching out to community stakeholders to engage in dialogue, and commit ourselves to additional discussions in the future."

In a Saturday statement, Northam said, "Our commonwealth has done important work on police reform, but we must keep working to ensure Virginians are safe during interactions with police, the enforcement of laws is fair and equitable, and people are held accountable."

Editor's note: A previous version of this article misidentified Gov. Northam as a Republican. For the record, Northam is a Democrat.

WATCH: Police Pull Guns On Afro-Latino Army Officer In Traffic Stop | NBC Newswww.youtube.com

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