Caron Nazario had his arms raised in fear from the window of his newly purchased SUV when two Windsor police officers held the U.S. Army second lieutenant at gunpoint during a traffic stop in Virginia.
Caron Nazario was confused as to why police were yelling for him to exit the car last December for not having a permanent rear license plate, according to a federal lawsuit filed this month.
According to the suit, the officers drew their guns and pointed them at Nazario, made a Green Mile reference that suggested execution, pepper-sprayed him, and knocked him to the ground.
Bodycam footage shows Caron Nazario, who is black and Latino, holding both of his hands up and telling Windsor Police Department officers he was honestly afraid to get out of his car.
“Yea, you should be,” one of the officers, Joe Gutierrez, replies.
Before the stop, the other officer, Daniel Crocker, radioed that he was attempting to pull Nazario over because he did not have a rear license plate and was driving with tinted windows.
Crocker said the driver was eluding police.
The lawsuit states that Caron Nazario drove for one minute and 40 seconds to pull over in a well-lit area for the Windsor police officers.
Gutierrez joined the stop after his colleague referred to the incident as a high-risk traffic stop.
The lawsuit said that by the time the Windsor Police officers had Nazario pulled over, his license plate was visible in the rear window of his new SUV.
Bodycam footage shows the soldier clearly wearing his uniform and sticking his two hands out the window of the vehicle.
The two Windsor Police officers can be seen immediately pulling out their guns and pointing them at Nazario before attempting to pull him from the vehicle.
At one point, Nazario said he was afraid to put his hands down to take off his seatbelt.
The officers pepper-sprayed him multiple times before he got out of the car.
At one point, Officer Gutierrez tells Nazario he was fixin’ to ride the lightning, a reference from the movie The Green Mile, which is about a black man facing the death penalty.
This is a colloquial expression for an execution, originating from glib reference to execution by the electric chair, the suit against the officers says.
When Nazario was eventually removed from the car, he repeatedly asked for a supervisor.
Gutierrez then hit him with knee-strikes to the legs, according to the suit.