Monday, April 12, 2021

Even AFTER George Floyd, This Is STILL Happening In America

On December 5,2020, U.S. Army Lt. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, was driving his brand-new Chevy Tahoe when he got the police lights in the rearview mirror. He was in uniform at the time of the stop.

Knowing what could happen to People of Color during even routine police stops, Nazario did not immediately pull over. But he did put on his emergency lights, and continued on driving, under the speed limit, for about a minute-and-a-half, until he could  safely park in a well-lit gas station parking lot.

At the gas station, Windsor Police Officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker pulled their guns on Nazario for the crime of driving without license plates even though a new vehicle tag was clearly visible in Lt. Nazario's rear window.

Lt. Nazario says he followed police commands to keep his hands outside the vehicle, but says officers became agitated when he asked why he was being stopped, as is his right. That’s when Gutierrez says—and he is heard on police body cams:

"What's going on? You're fixin' to ride the lightning, son?"

Nazario's attorney Jonathan Arthur says, in Nazario’s lawsuit, that ‘ride the lightning’ is a colloquial expression for an execution, originating from glib reference to execution by the electric chair”. And while Virginia recently outlawed capital punishment, the state has executed prisoners via the electric chair for more than a century.

Nazario is heard telling the officers that he was “honestly afraid to get out” of his SUV, and Officer Gutierrez replies:

“Yeah, you should be!”

The officers then pepper sprayed Nazario multiple times, "causing him substantial and immediate pain," damaged Nazario’s new car, and choked his dog, who was crated in the rear of the vehicle.

Gutierrez responded with knee-strikes to Lt. Nazario's legs to force an already compliant and blinded Lt. Nazario down on his face ostensibly to handcuff him. And while he was on the ground, and in tears, Gutierrez and Crocker continued to strike him. They also warned him not to complain about their treatment of him, and threatened to criminally charge him; if, however, Nazario, according to , the lawsuit, would "chill and let this go," then no charges would be filed.

Lt. Caron Nazario was not criminally charged or cited for any traffic violation.

Huh. I guess there is no law on the books about Black Men Driving New Cars in Windsor, Virginia.

A town manager says Officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker still work for the police department.

See the video at NBC News and ask yourselves, if you are a white person, if you would have been treated the same; if you would have felt safe getting out of the car; if police officers would have pulled guns on you; if you’d have heard the officer joke about the electric chair; if you’d have been told you have good reason to be afraid; if you’d have been pepper sprayed, grabbed and thrown to the ground because there were no license plates on your car.

If you were white …

UPDATE: Officer Joe Gutierrez has been fired from the Windsor Police Department. Daniel Crocker, however, still has his job.


uptonking said...

Scary. And now a youth here in Minneapolis shot because he had air fresheners dangling from his rear view mirror??? This world. Defund the police, no. Police the police? YES. Reform. Demilitarize. Get some compassion and ethics in place and stop allowing psychopaths to carry weapons in the name of law. Sick. And not the cool kind.

Helen Lashbrook said...

I saw this on Morning Joe and was just horrified and all for a rear number plate when the young man had a temporary one in the back window. This is just shameful.

anne marie in philly said...


the dogs' mother said...

Wishing Lt. Caron Nazario all the best.
xoxo :-)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

And it will continue to happen for so long as America is a racist country.

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Shame-FUL. I just can't with this kind of fuckery. Really. Thank goodness he drove to a well-illuminated area. Otherwise, he'd be one more statistic and one more reason to revolt.


VRCooper said...

I have been up in arms all weekend about this video.

Part of being a police officer is knowing when to use force and when not to. Also when to deescalate the situation. It appears these officers were going full steam ahead and hell be damned. The younger officer may have been following the older officer's lead but his training should have kicked in. They both should be held accountable. There should be a pinch to them both. Yes, one was fired, the lead, but the other should have some type of punishment as well.

What disturbed me the most about the video is not the traffic stop. Being pulled over while driving black is commonplace. What upset me is having the 2nd Lt-Medic-get out of the car and forcing him on the ground to handcuff him. Why?? You now see there is a temporary tag on the back window that you may not have seen before and this is when one should deescalate the situation quickly before someone gets shot or even killed. They wanted to humiliate him. Let him suck dirt. And the comments said by the older officer let me know his inherent bias. Can more training change that, make him more aware before he acts out again?

Why did this take so long to investigate. This is a small town. It's not like they have a backlog of cases to pour-over. Maybe they thought it could be kept quiet. And threatening the soldier's career is a no, no as well. The army officer should pursue all remedies afforded him by law. This will let this small town know that people are watching and acting like rouge cops will not be tolerated.

Dave R said...

One was termed, and the other? I suspect Crocker is going to be publicly crocked.

Gene Perry said...

"and Officer Gutierrez replies: Yeah, you should be!” ... that statement alone tells me all I need to know.

Michael said...

When is this stuff going to stop? And today there was another school shooting in TN. Depressing.

Moving with Mitchell said...

We know this has always been going on, but in this era it's again being done with pride. Hideous!

Steve Reed said...