Virginia police officer ‘Joe Gutierrez’ who perpetuated the traffic stop of a Black and Latino Army Second Lieutenant has been fired from the force.
This all occurred in December when Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario got pulled over by police officers in Windsor, Virginia. He waited until he could pull into a well-lit gas station, but the officers that were pulling him over claimed they believed that he was trying to “evade” them.
Nazario slowed down, put a blinker on, and — within a minute or so — he pulled in a well-lit BP gas station.
At that point, two officers approached Nazario, guns drawn, yelling at him to get out of the car.
“What’s going on?” Nazario, dressed in uniform, repeatedly asked.
Windsor Police Department officer Joe Gutierrez responded: “What’s going on is you’re fixing to ride the lightning, son.”
Watch: If you’re unable to watch below follow this link to YouTube.
During the stop, the officers drew their weapons on Mr. Nazario, pepper-sprayed him, and made him lay on his stomach on the ground while they handcuff him.
The officers show absolutely no regard for the Lieutenant. The video is hard to watch! The reference to the ‘lightning, son’ as officer Gutierrez put it, is in reference to death by the electric chair. If you listen to this officer he’s totally condescending to Mr. Nazario even snubbing his military rank.
In a statement released Sunday evening, the Town of Windsor announced that Gutierrez had been “terminated from his employment.”
“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 statement read. “The investigation of this event began immediately. At the conclusion of this investigation, it was determined that Windsor Police Department policy was not followed”
This month, Nazario filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleging that the officers violated his Constitutional rights, engaged in racial profiling, threatened to kill him and that their actions may have negatively impacted his military career.
Sergeant Major of the US Army Michael Grinston, the highest-ranking enlisted soldier in the US Army, took to Twitter to offer his support to Mr. Nazario.
“Like many of you, I was concerned by the video of LT Nazario’s traffic stop in December. He represented himself and our Army well through his calm, professional response to the situation – I’m very proud of him,” Mr. Grinston said. “Situations like this are what I want Soldiers to discuss. This is the reality that some of our Soldiers still face. As a Leader, you should know that and be willing to have conversations about how events like this impact your teams.”
Mr. Grintson said he could not comment on the ongoing situation as litigation was involved, but he said Mr. Nazario was “receiving the support from his leadership he needs.”