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Black Army Lieutenant Sues Virginia Police

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A Black high-ranking officer of the U.S. Army has filed a lawsuit against two Virginia police officers, who reportedly pulled him over in his car, drew their guns before pepper spraying and knocking him onto the ground.

In the lawsuit, Second Lt. Caron Nazario claims that Windsdor, Va., police officers—Daniel Crocker and Joe Gutierrez—racially profiled him and threatened to kill him in actions that might have negatively affected his military career, according to Newsweek

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The incident occurred in December 2020 and was recorded both in body camera footage and on Nazario’s cellphone. Video of the event was shared online on Friday (April 9), and the officers have drawn widespread criticism. Watch the video below.

A member of the U.S. Army Medical Corps, who is based in Virginia, Nazario was in uniform when he was pulled over on his way home in his Chevy Tahoe from his duty station, Newsweek writes.

Crocker made a radio call, claiming he was attempting to stop a vehicle without a rear license plate and that the driver was “eluding police,” according to a report he filed after the incident. 

Nazario, however, had a temporary license plate taped to the inside of his rear window and it was reportedly visible by the time the officers reached the car, according to the lawsuit. The vehicle was new to him and he hadn’t yet been issued with permanent plates, the report says.

When cops ordered him out of the car, he said he was afraid to get out of the car. The officer replied, “Yeah, you should be.” 

After that, body camera footage shows the officers pepper-spraying, striking him in the knees, handcuffing him, and threatening to bring charges against him if he complained about their conduct, according to the footage and the lawsuit. He has sued the officers, accusing them of racially profiling him, and violating his constitutional rights.

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