RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Thursday, Jan. 12, was the fourth day of the federal trial for two Windsor Police officers — Joe Guttierez and Daniel Crocker — involved in a traffic stop where pepper spray was used on a U.S. Army lieutenant. Caron Nazario was never arrested during the incident but is now suing for $1 million, arguing claims for assault and battery, unlawful imprisonment, and illegal search.
The jury heard testimony from two different police chiefs in this latest court session.
Utah Police Chief Ken Wallentine was called to the stand to testify about police procedures and when force is justified. The prosecution called Wallentine’s expertise into question for not being an officer of Virginia law enforcement — and having potentially different rules and practices.
Windsor Police Chief Rodney Riddle — who was chief of police at the time of the incident in December 2020 — then took the stand.
On Dec. 5, 2020, officers Guttierez and Crocker pulled Nazario over at a gas station for allegedly having missing plates. The officers were then seen on body cam video ordering Nazario out of the car with guns pointed at him. Nazario stayed in the car — saying he feared for his life.
Guttierez pepper-sprayed him multiple times after he put his hands out of the car. After that, Nazario exited the vehicle but did not get on the ground when ordered and was forcibly made to do so. Following the incident, Nazario was released and was never arrested.
Nazario’s vehicle was also illegally searched by one of the officers during the incident. The results of that search were thrown out in August 2021.
Nazario has now filed a $1 million civil suit against those officers.
In court, it was revealed that Gutierrez’s video deposition was “lost” and not able to be played for the jury — resulting in it being read, word for word, by the prosecution.
Gutierrez was fired in April 2021. Crocker is still on the force. Both men were present in court today.
The trial is set to conclude on Friday.
There will be one more witness called to the stand for both sides to question, followed by closing arguments before jurors start to deliberate and come to a verdict.