A US Army lieutenant must pursue two Virginia police officers after firing their guns at him and using pepper spray during a traffic stop.
The lawsuit was brought by Caron Nazario in Virginia against Windsor police officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker, and alleges they violated his constitutional rights.
It comes amid high tensions over the ongoing trial Derek chauvin, who is accused of murder George floyd last year by kneeling on his neck.
The incident, which was filmed, involves Mr Nazario, who is black and Latino, in his uniform driving his new car through Windsor with a temporary paper tag in his rear window in December of last year.
The lawsuit says a police car flagged him down and asked him to stop, which he does about two minutes later after looking for a lit place to stop.
He then says that an officer radioed to report that Nazario was driving unlabeled and “evading” the police, adding that it was a “high risk” stop, leading another officer to reach the scene. .
While traffic stopped, footage shows Mr. Nazario saying he’s scared to get out of the vehicle, to which an officer replies, “Yeah, you should be.”
The officer then continues to ask Mr. Nazario to get out of the car, while the army lieutenant asks what he did wrong, adding for a traffic violation, he is not forced to get out of his car.
He is then sprayed with pepper through the window of his car, while the officers try to open the door of his vehicle.
Mr Nazario told officers the situation was “messed up”, adding that his dog was in the back of his car choking – to which the officer continued to tell him to remove his seat belt and get out of the vehicle.
Once out of the vehicle, the driver repeatedly asks to be briefed on what’s going on and asks a commander while he is being pushed to the ground.
The lawsuit also claims that one of the officers said Mr. Nazario “was about to ride lightning,” the costume says – an apparent reference to the electric chair.
Mr Nazario offered no resistance, according to the court record, adding that he was sprayed with cayenne pepper and thrown to the ground regardless.
According to the trial, once the incident was over, one of the officers, Mr Gutierrez, allegedly said he understood why the complainant was looking for a well-lit place to stop, saying: “I understand, the media is spitting out race relations
between law enforcement and minorities. I understand.”