The legal professional basic of Virginia stated on Monday that he was investigating whether or not there was an “illegal sample or observe of conduct” on the Windsor Police Division after a uniformed Black U.S. Military medic was held at gunpoint and doused with pepper spray by its officers.
Two members of the Police Division performed a visitors cease on Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant within the U.S. Military Medical Corps, in December, throughout which one of many officers, Joe Gutierrez, threatened Lieutenant Nazario earlier than dousing him with pepper spray and pushing him to the bottom, in response to physique digicam footage of the episode.
Mr. Gutierrez’s actions have been “appalling” and “harmful,” Mark Herring, the legal professional basic, stated in an interview on CNN on Monday night time.
His workplace has requested data from the Windsor Police Division from way back to a decade as a part of its investigation into “whether or not there may need been a sample of police misconduct both by these officers particularly or extra broadly throughout the division,” Mr. Herring stated.
“In that case,” he stated, “then we’ve bought extra work to do to ensure that this by no means occurs there once more.”
Mr. Gutierrez was fired after the Police Division performed an inside investigation into the episode and decided that he had not adopted the division’s insurance policies, the city stated in a assertion on Sunday.
An investigation was underway by the Virginia State Police, Mr. Herring stated, including that it was essential to even have an “impartial, unaffiliated company to completely examine and to ensure that there may be accountability.”
The investigation by the legal professional basic’s workplace was searching for to find out if “that is an remoted incident” or if there had been earlier complaints of “unconstitutional policing or brutality” by the officers or the division, stated Mr. Herring, a Democrat who’s working for re-election this 12 months.
The legal professional basic’s workplace has requested the personnel data for the 2 officers concerned within the visitors cease, in addition to data of any complaints to the division during the last 10 years relating to the usage of pressure, visitors stops or “therapy on the idea of race, coloration and/or nationwide origin,” in response to a letter despatched on Monday to the chief of police, Rodney Daniel Riddle.
A consultant for Chief Riddle didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. The city stated in its earlier assertion that the episode had resulted in disciplinary motion and “departmentwide necessities for added coaching,” and that Windsor would “proceed to supply data associated to this occasion in its dedication to openness.”
Lieutenant Nazario filed a lawsuit within the U.S. District Court docket for the Japanese District of Virginia this month accusing the officers of illegally looking his automobile, utilizing extreme pressure and violating his rights below the First Modification. The lawsuit seeks $1 million in compensatory damages.
In footage of the visitors cease, Lieutenant Nazario says to the officers: “I’m serving this nation and that is how I’m handled? What’s occurring?”
Mr. Gutierrez yells, “What’s occurring is you’re fixing to trip the lightning, son.”
Within the lawsuit, Lieutenant Nazario additionally accused the officers of threatening to destroy his army profession by charging him with a number of crimes if he complained about their conduct.
Mr. Gutierrez informed Lieutenant Nazario that the police chief had given him the discretion to let him go as long as the lieutenant didn’t “combat and argue.” Mr. Gutierrez additionally threatened that he would write a summons if Lieutenant Nazario didn’t “chill” in regards to the visitors cease, and that the Military could be alerted if a summons have been written. Lieutenant Nazario stated he could be alerting his supervisors about what had occurred.
Michael Grinston, sergeant main of the Military, stated in a tweet on Monday that he was happy with Lieutenant Nazario, who he stated had “represented himself and our Military effectively by his calm, skilled response to the scenario.”
In his interview with CNN, Mr. Herring stated that “it was Lieutenant Nazario who was the calm one — who was the accountable one.”