A U.S. Army second lieutenant is suing two Virginia cops over a traffic stop that happened last December.
According to Richmond.com, the overzealous officers allegedly drew their guns and pointed them at the man while using a slang term to suggest he was about to face execution before pepper-spraying him and knocking him to the ground during the traffic stop.
The bodycam footage from the stop shows that the man, Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, was dressed in his army uniform with his hands held out of the driver’s side window as he told the police officers, “I’m honestly afraid to get out.” And one of the officers mockingly responding saying, “Yeah, you should be!”
In his lawsuit filed earlier this month, Nazario claims his constitutional rights were violated during the traffic stop.
Both sides dispute what happened after a second officer joined the first one. Nazario claimed at the time that he was coming from his duty station and going home. The officer claimed he was attempting to stop a vehicle with no rear license plate and tinted windows. He said the driver was “eluding police,” which made him consider it a “high-risk traffic stop.”
But Nazario’s attorney argued that his client was not eluding the police but was actually trying to find a well-lit area “for officer safety and out of respect for the officers.”
“I don’t even want to reach for my seatbelt, can you please? … My hands are out, can you please — look, this is really messed up,” Nazario said after being pepper-sprayed with his eyes shut.
The suit claims that officers shouted conflicting orders at Nazario, telling him to put his hands out the window while simultaneously telling him to open the door and get out. At one point, the second police Officer Joe Gutierrez told Nazario he was “fixin’ to ride the lightning,” a reference to the electric chair, which is a line from the movie “The Green Mile,” a film about a Black man facing execution.