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Hours after Gov. Ralph Northam on Sunday said he directed state police to investigate the treatment of a Black Army second lieutenant by two Windsor police officers, the town announced one of the officers had been fired.
A video, which went viral last week and has been viewed more than 11 million times, shows two officers immediately drawing their guns and pointing them at Caron Nazario — who is Black and Latino and was in uniform — as he sat in his SUV after being pulled over. During that December encounter, police pepper sprayed Nazario, 27, multiple times with his dog in the back seat, bodycam footage shows. He repeatedly asked what was going on.
Once Nazario exited his vehicle, an officer responded with “knee-strikes” to his legs, knocking him to the ground, the lawsuit says.
Nazario was treated at the scene by medics and released with no charges.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court last week, alleges the stop was illegal, the two officers didn’t have probable cause to charge Nazario with any crimes and they threatened to ruin the Army officer’s military career to cover their misdeeds.
The treatment of Nazario quickly drew outrage, including from prominent Virginia politicians, and picked up national news coverage.
In a statement, Northam called the incident “disturbing” and said it angered him. He invited Nazario to meet soon.
Peter Coutu, 757-222-5124, firstname.lastname@example.org