Lt. Caron Nazario pepper-sprayed

Black Army Lt. Sues Officers Who Pepper-Sprayed Him During Arrest

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Lt. Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, is suing two police officers who officers drew their guns, pointed them at him and pepper-sprayed him during an arrest.

In the police body camera video footage, Lt. Nazario held his hands held in the air outside the driver’s side window to avoid possible execution. With his arms still in the air, Nazario can be heard saying, “I’m honestly afraid to get out.”

One of the officers then responded, “Yeah, you should be!”

The officers have been identified as Windsor police Officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker.

Nazario was pepper-sprayed several times as he remained seated in his SUV. One of the officers attempted to help him remove his seatbelt but was told to stop by the second officer on the scene. He repeatedly asks why he is being arrested when Gutirrez eventually responds:

“What’s going on? You’re fixin’ to ride the lighting, son.”

“This is a colloquial expression for an execution, originating from glib reference to execution by the electric chair,” Nazario’s attorney Jonathan Arthur wrote in the lawsuit.

The bodycam shows the officers’ aggressive takedown of Nazario once he exits his 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,” Arthur wrote. “Notwithstanding the fact that Nazario was on the ground and in tears, Gutierrez and Crocker continued to strike Lt. Nazario.”

The incident took place on Dec. 5, 2020.

“This has got to stop,” said Jonathan Arthur, Nazario’s Richmond-based attorney who believes his client is a victim of police brutality.

In the lawsuit, the lieutenant also alleges the officers warned him not to complain about the violent arrest, threatening him with criminal charges. According to Arthur, the officer said that if Nazario would “chill and let this go,” then no charges would be filed.

Nazario has now filed a lawsuit against Gutierrez and Crocker, asking for damages of at least $1 million in damages and asking for the court to rule that the two officers violated his rights, including rights under the Fourth Amendment.

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