RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/WAVY) — The Town of Windsor has rereleased footage of a traffic stop from November involving Army 2nd Lieutenant Caron Nazario. This comes after a December traffic stop involving an army lieutenant and two town officers went viral.
The town first released the video on Thursday but quickly took it down. Town officials told our sister station WAVY in Norfolk that they took it down because some of Nazario’s identifying information was visible in the video.
A redacted version of the traffic stop’s bodycam footage from Nov. 7 was rereleased on Friday before noon.
The Town of Windsor Police Department does not have dash cameras in their patrol cars, Town Manager William Saunders told 8News in an email.
Nazario is the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against two Windsor police officers filed this month. He alleges the officers used excessive force and violated his rights, among other things, during a traffic stop at a BP gas station on Dec. 5.
Nazario, who is Black and Latino, was pepper-sprayed during the incident and put into handcuffs after he did not comply with officers’ orders to get out of his vehicle. The officers had classified the stop as high risk because he didn’t immediately stop and the tint prevented them from seeing into the vehicle. In the lawsuit, Nazario said he was both scared and confused by conflicting orders.
After he was pepper-sprayed, he was treated by medics then later released by the officers and allowed to leave the scene.
In the Nov. 7 video, Lt. Nazario is pulled over for allegedly driving 19 mph over the speed limit. The officer also notes that the vehicle has “no tags displayed.”
According to footage, the officer traveled more than a minute and a half before stopping the cruiser behind Nazario’s SUV in a Food Lion parking lot.
When the officer approaches Lt. Nazario and asks for his license and registration, Lt. Nazario explains he recently purchased the vehicle in New York and that the temporary tags are on the window.
“It is in the window if you want to take a look at it,” Lt. Nazario tells the officer.
The officer then explains to Lt. Nazario that the reason he was pulled over is for going 54 mph in a 35 mph zone. Lt. Nazario asks to be given a warning. However, the officer tells him that because he was 19 mph over the speed limit he won’t give him a break.
The officer spends several minutes writing the ticket, then reapproaches the vehicle. He explains the ticket and Nazario’s options to either pay ahead or show up in court in a few months for the ticket.
Nazario then signs the ticket and reiterates to the officer he would have appreciated a warning and that he has someplace to be by a certain time. The officer again says he doesn’t give warnings for 19 mph over the speed limit.
A spokesperson for the Town of Windsor, Joel Rubin, told 8News Friday the video was released because the media requested it.
“In the spirit of transparency, it was posted online,” Rubin said.
Lt. Nazario’s attorney Jonathan Arthur disagrees.
On Thursday night, Arthur released a statement saying the release of footage with Nazario’s address and personal information was retaliation.
Arthur wrote: “It is a credit to the character and integrity of Lt. Caron Nazario that all they have managed to find was footage of a speeding ticket, a traffic stop. It is a traffic stop where Lt. Nazario again waits for a clear, safe space to pull over. A traffic stop where Lt. Nazario remains calm and courteous. It is a traffic stop that is irrelevant to the deplorable actions of the town of Windsor’s police officers. It is footage whose release is only intended to retaliate against and to retraumatize their victim.”
“We have notified the appropriate authorities and this aggression will not go unchecked,” Arthur added.
The viral December traffic stop is currently under investigation at the request of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Windsor Police Chief Rodney Riddle. A Windsor officer involved in the incident was fired on Sunday.
Stay with 8News for updates.