Caron Nazario Traffic Stop

Mack Guice, Staff Writer

Recently videos caught by an officer’s body camera revealed a video involving police officers pulling over a black man enlisted in the army. The video struck an outage across America and the video became viral striking millions of views.  With the Black Lives Matter movement still making its strides for awareness the relationship of African Americans and police stops has been a very fragile situation to focus on.

The numerous encounters of violence in police stops with African Americans has been a subject that’s been touched on for years however recently awareness has been at an all time high because the people have just  had enough. The incident happened in December when second lieutenant Caron Nazario was pulled over in a more rural part of the state of Virginia by two white officers. Lieutenant Nazario is of black and Latino heritage who enlisted into the national guard in December of 2016, he also worked as an army health services administration officer. This last year he served active duty as a part of the United States national guard response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In late December of last year Lieutenant Nazario was pulled over in rural Windsor Virginia. Shortly after being pulled over Nazario was repeatedly asked to step out of his car without any explanation as to why or even why he was pulled over in the first place. He repeatedly asked the officers “What’s going on.” Nazario then makes the comment “I’m serving this country and this is how I’m treated.” Then police officer Joe Gutierrez responded “yeah well guess what? I’m a veteran, too.”

Shortly after, the officers began to pepper spray lieutenant Nazario and he was struck in his knees handcuffed and forced to the ground, however, no charges were filed. Lieutenant Nazario has sued both of the officers involved in the incident alleging that the officers violated his constitutional rights. Police officer Gutierrez has been fired from the police force and the other officer is said to have been reprimanded. This video continues to remind us of the social injustices we still face here in America today.

The state of Virginia has requested an investigation of this encounter by the Virginia State police.  State police have agreed to follow through with a full investigation and have handled the two officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker. The two officers were caught on their body cams harassing and disregarding all protocol while going through with this police stop. Officers are trained to be as calm as possible when in altercations with civilians on police stops. As the man in uniform was simply complying with the officers demands he was still threatened, roughed up, and pinned to the ground by the police.

Injustices of this magnitude have been continuously happening here in America and the message couldn’t be any clearer that this is just not right. Lieutenant Nazario has filed a lawsuit against the police department and is suing the Virginia state police for violating his constitutional rights.