RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A federal jury failed to reach a verdict in a case involving two Windsor police officers accused of conducting a violent traffic stop involving a U.S. Army lieutenant in 2020.
Friday, Jan. 13, was the final day of the five-day $1 million civil trial against Windsor police officers Daniel Crocker and Joe Gutierrez. The jury spent much of the afternoon deliberating on whether or not the accused were liable for assault and battery, unlawful imprisonment and illegal search.
Shortly before 5 p.m., the jury was presented with the choice of either extending their considerations until 5:30 p.m. or reconvening next week. The jury chose to stay until 5:30 p.m., however, the jury was unable to reach a verdict by that time, and the court was adjourned.
The jury will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17.
Caron Nazario, a Virginia Army National Guard lieutenant, claimed that he was assaulted and falsely imprisoned during the incident — in August 2022, Crocker was also found liable for illegally searching Nazario’s SUV for a gun.
On Dec. 20, 2020, Crocker and Gutierrez conducted a traffic stop of Nazario for driving a vehicle with missing license plates. In bodycam footage of the stop, the officers can be seen pepper-spraying, striking and handcuffing Nazario as he fails to exit his vehicle after police commands. Nazario can also be heard saying he is afraid for his life.
Crocker and Gutierrez’s counsel argued that they had good reason to treat the incident like a felony traffic stop — and that they used the necessary force to get Nazario out of the car.
Nazario’s counsel argued he was confused by the officers’ conflicting commands and he had good reason to believe that the traffic stop could’ve ended in a deadly outcome.