Windsor police officer Joe Gutierrez has been fired from the force
Gutierrez was dismissed after police release shocking body cam video showing him and another officer pulling their guns on an Army Lieutenant and assaulting him during a traffic stop in Windsor, on Dec 5
Firing comes hours after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted that the traffic stop involving Army Lt. Caron Nazario was ‘disturbing and angered him’
Nazario, who is black and Latino has since claimed his constitutional rights were violated during the traffic stop which was all caught on body cam video
He has sued the cops involved, claiming that during the arrest, his hands were up and offered no resistance, but was pepper sprayed, violently knocked to the ground and detained.
Windsor police officers Daniel Crocker and Gutierrez had radioed saying they were attempting to stop a vehicle with no rear license plate and tinted windows
Nazario was in uniform, driving his new SUV with a temporary paper tag displayed on the back window
During the stop, Nazario was pepper sprayed and struck across the legs as one officer also stated that Nazario was “fixing to ride the lightning,” in an apparent reference to execution by electrocution
The second Windsor police officer Daniel Crocker still appears to be on the force
A police officer in rural Virginia has been dismssed from the force after being involved in a controversial traffic stop in December where a pair of cops officers drew their guns at a Black Army second lieutenant in U.S. Army uniform.
Officer Joe Gutierrez was ‘terminated from his employment’ with the Windsor Police Dept. following an internal investigation that showed he ‘failed to follow department policy’.
Black and Latino U.S. Army lieutenant Caron Nazario is seen pepper sprayed and beaten with batons by Virginia police officers Joe Guiterrez and Danel Crocker during a traffic stop in Dec 2020. Lt. Nazario sued the two cops
The uniformed Army lieutenant was pepper sprayed and struck in the legs during the stop.
Officer Joe Gutierrez’s dismissal was revealed in a press release from the Town of Windsor on Sunday night .
The fate of Daniel Crocker, the other police officer who was with Gutierrez on the December stop, remains unknown. Although, it appears he will remain a member of the Windsor police department.
‘The pursuit and ultimate stop resulted in the use of pepper spray against Lt. Nazario by Officer Gutierrez. As a result of this use of force, Department policy requires an internal investigation to determine the appropriateness of such actions. The investigation of this event began immediately,’ the statement began.
‘At the conclusion of this investigation, it was determined that Windsor Police Department policy was not followed. This 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,’ the release details.
‘The Town of Windsor has remained transparent about this event since the initial stop, and has openly provided documents and related video to attorneys for Lt. Nazario. The Town will continue to provide information related to this event in its commitment to openness. 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,’ the statement reads.
U.S. Army second lieutenant Caron Nazario filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the two Windsor police officers involved in the stop, accusing them of drawing their guns, pointing them at him and using a slang term to suggest he was facing execution before pepper-spraying him and knocking him to the ground.
The two sides in the case dispute what happened, but Windsor Police Officer Daniel Crocker wrote in a report that he believed Nazario was ‘eluding police’ and he considered it a ‘high-risk traffic stop.’
Nazario had claimed that wasn´t trying to elude the officer, but was trying to stop in a well-lit area.
His partner in the stop, Windsor Police Officer Joe Gutierrez was relieved of his posting on Sunday night.
Nazario, who is Latino and Black, was in uniform and driving his new SUV with a temporary paper tag displayed on the back window on December 5, when he was told to pull over on U.S. Highway 460 in Windsor, Virginia, a town of about 2,600 residents and about 70 miles southeast of Richmond.
When a police cruiser signaled for him to stop, a lawsuit against the two officers says Nazario put on his blinkers, slowed down and looked for a lit place to stop.
Nazario stopped at a nearby gas station, less than two minutes after being signaled to pull over.
During the stop, which was captured on police body cameras and Nazario’s cell phone, Nazario told police that he was afraid to get out of the vehicle. An officer responded, ‘Yeah you should be,’ the suit says.
An officer also stated that Nazario was “fixing to ride the lightning,” in an apparent reference to execution by electrocution.
During the arrest, the suit says Nazario had his hands up, offered no resistance, but was pepper sprayed and violently knocked to the ground and detained. Ultimately the police chief responded to the scene and Nazario was released without charges, the suit says.
After the altercation, the suit says officer Gutierrez said he understood why Nazario looked for a well lit area to pull over, and said: “I get it, the media spewing race relations between law enforcement and minorities. I get it.”
The incident captured on video comes at a time of heightened awareness over police arrests of minorities and racial justice, in the wake of the ongoing televised trial of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody last May.
Over the weekend, Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, called for an independent investigation into the traffic stop in which the two officers were captured on video pepper-spraying and pointing their guns at Nazaio before striking his knees.
The December 5 encounter was ‘disturbing’ in a tweet on Sunday, adding that he directed Virginia State Police to review what happened.
‘The incident in Windsor is disturbing and angered me – and I am directing the Virginia State Police to conduct an independent investigation,’ Northam wrote.
‘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,’ Northam said in his statement calling for a review of the actions.