A federal judge has stated that a U.S. Army Lieutenant is allowed to go to trial against police officers in Virginia. A traffic stop that took place between them gained attention and criticism around the nation.
Caron Nazario was pepper-sprayed, hit, and handcuffed in the city of Windsor. This came after he drove slowly to a gas station a mile away. Officer Daniel Crocker had radioed that he was stopping the vehicle. This was because there was no rear license plate, and there were tinted windows.
Nazario drove less than the speed limit, for under a mile, until he arrived to a well-lit gas station. However, Crocker stated that the man was eluding authorities and called it a “high-risk” traffic stop.
Officer Joe Gutierrez eventually arrived on scene. Both officers then pointed their guns at Nazario, trying to get him out of the vehicle as his hands were up.
After being pepper-sprayed and getting out of the car, the uniformed Lieutenant requested to speak with a supervisor. Gutierrez then kicked Nazario several times with his knee. Nazario fell to the ground where officers hit and handcuffed him.
Because of Virginia law, Judge Roderick Young determined that Nazario may provide a jury with allegations of false imprisonment, assault and battery, and illegal search.
The judge stated that the officer who first pulled Nazario over is liable for illegally searching for a firearm in the soldier’s SUV. Nazario had a concealed carry permit.
However, he also ruled that the officers did have probable cause to pull the soldier over because of the improperly displayed license plate. The judge also found that he did elude arrest and wouldn’t get out of his vehicle when demanded.
Nazario was never charged with an offense, and the incident was captured on body cam footage.
However, the judge ruled that federal immunity laws protect the officers from accusations that their treatment of the Black and Hispanic soldier went against the U.S. Constitution.