Virginia officer who pepper-sprayed Army officer fired

Source: The Hill | April 11, 2021 | Mychael Schnell

A Windsor, Va., police officer who pepper-sprayed an Army officer during a traffic stop last year has been fired, the Windsor Police Department announced on Sunday.

Joe Gutierrez was one of the two Windsor police officers caught on camera pointing their guns at Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant in the Army, at a traffic stop at a gas station in December.

In body camera video shared online by The Associated Press, Gutierrez is also seen pepper-spraying Nazario multiple times after one of the officers attempts to open his car door.

In a statement released on Sunday, the Windsor Police Department said it conducted an investigation into Gutierrez’s use of force and determined that department policy “was not followed.”

“At the conclusion of this investigation, it was determined that Windsor Police Department policy was not followed,” the department wrote in a statement.

“This resulted in disciplinary action, and department-wide requirements for additional training were implemented beginning in January and continue up to the present. Since that time, Officer Gutierrez was also terminated from his employment,” the department added.

Earlier this month, Nazario filed a lawsuit arguing that the officers violated his constitutional rights during a traffic stop in Windsor, located about 46 miles west of Virginia Beach.

In the statement, the Windsor Police Department said it has “openly provided documents and related video to attorneys for Lt. Nazario.”

Additionally, the city officials said they requested an investigation of the event by Virginia State Police.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced earlier Sunday that he is directing Virginia State Police to conduct an independent investigation into the traffic stop and use of force.

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