WINDSOR, Va. (WRIC) — Isle of Wight and Virginia NAACP held a press conference Monday evening about the traffic stop and arrest of Lt. Caron Nazario.
Nazario was pulled over by Windsor police officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker for allegedly not having a rear license plate visible on his Chevrolet Tahoe. The officers drew guns on Nazario and pepper-sprayed him. Body-cam footage of the incident released by Nazario’s attorneys has since gone viral.
Valerie Cofer Butler, president of the Isle Of Wight Branch NAACP, said the chapter has been in contact with Nazario’s attorney, and they said Nazario is behind them and agrees with what they’re doing.
She added the organization has the following demands for the Town of Windsor and its police department to answer the following questions:
- When did the investigation really began and when it was concluded.
- When was Officer Guiterrez officially terminated?
- Were any disciplinary actions taken against Officer Crocker? Is he still patrolling neighborhoods? ‘
Butler said they also want the Police Department to provide the public with what their newly implemented training requirements are.
She said the chapter is thankful Gov. Ralph Northam has acknowledged the incident, but they would like for an independent body outside of law enforcement to investigate this incident.
Del. Don L. Scott said he was a former naval officer and one of the things that made him sick to his stomach was treated this way while in uniform.
“It was shameful, it was embarrassing, it was disgusting,” he said. “Neither one of those officers who purported those acts should be wearing a uniform right now. They should not be in this community doing this kind of work.”
While Officer Gutierrez was let go by the Windsor police department on Sunday, April 11, months after the traffic stop occurred on Dec. 5, 2020, it is unknown if officer Crocker was also fired.
Scott said a friend of his who used to do a lot of corporate training told him “culture eats training for lunch.”
“The culture in this organization, as demonstrated by those two officers, means that this was acceptable, it was the norm, they did not feel like they would be punished,” Scott said.
Even when they saw this man was wearing an army uniform protecting their own lives aboard, they still felt very comfortable disrespecting him and abusing him.”
Earlier today, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced he and the Office of Civil Rights are requesting numerous documents from the Windsor Police Department to investigate the tactics used against Nazario.
While the delegate said that’s good, Scott added Herring needs to do the same in Virginia Beach and other cities.
“It’s time for him to stop standing on the sidelines and take action, and start protecting our communities,” Scott said.
Da’Quan Marcell Love, executive director of the Virginia NAACP, echoed these sentiments and said this press conference was “not just about one traffic stop.”
“This is about decency, justice, and frankly, accountability,” Love said. “To tell us that black Army second lieutenant in uniform can have that kind of treatment imposed upon him. Imagine what happens when the body cameras are off. Imagine what happens across dark roads up and down this commonwealth.”
Because of this, Love said the Virginia NAACP has launched a statewide campaign for the end of qualified immunity for law enforcement officers and demand that Gov. Ralph Northam call for a special session for this issue. The organization has started a website petition for this, and so far, it has more than 1,500 signatures.
“The time for statements and sympathies is over, we deserve action and we deserve it right away,” Love said.