Governor Northam has now directed Virginia State Police to conduct an independent investigation into the incident between Windsor Police and a second lieutenant in the U.S Army after footage released from the incident has sparked outrage among local leaders and politicians.
Caron Nazario is suing two Windsor police officers over a December 2020 traffic stop during which the officers drew their guns, pointed them at him and used a slang term to suggest he was facing execution.
Northam reacted to the video of the incident stating it is "disturbing and angered" him. Northam is now calling for an independent investigation conducted by State Police. This news follows Isle of Wight NAACP's statement that says they are conducting a separate investigation into the Windsor Police.
Northam says he is inviting Nazario to meet with him soon.
Virginia State Police Superintendent, Col. Gary Settle, has been in contact with both Governor Northam and Town of Windsor Police Department Chief Rodney Riddle. At Chief Riddle's request and the Governor's directive, State Police is now initiating an investigation into the traffic stop.
My statement on the encounter between Lieutenant Caron Nazario and two officers from the Windsor Police Department: pic.twitter.com/GcfL5YeIRm— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) April 11, 2021
An officer said Nazario's SUV had tinted windows, didn't have a rear license plate, and had been "eluding police." Nazario's attorney says his client was trying to stop in a well-lit area. An incident report written by Officer Joe Gutierrez said Nazario refused to comply with multiple commands.
The footage was obtained from the incident that shows Nazario having his hands in the air as he tells officers, "I’m honestly afraid to get out.”
One of the officers responded, “Yeah, you should be!” He then pepper-sprayed Nazario, who is Black and Latino.
Nazario is now coming forward filing a lawsuit against officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker - saying his first and fourth amendment rights were violated.
He is now seeking $1 million in damages.
According to the lawsuit, officers also threatened to charge Nazario with felony charges that could impact his military career.