By TOM FOREMAN Jr. Associated Press

A second lieutenant in the U.S. Army is suing two Virginia police officers over a traffic stop last December where officers drew their guns, pointed them at him and referenced the Green Mile to suggest he was facing execution before pepper-spraying him and knocking him to the ground.

Body camera footage shows Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, was dressed in uniform with his hands held in the air outside the driver’s side window of his new Chevy Tahoe as he told the armed officers: ‘I’m honestly afraid to get out.’

During police interrogation, Gutierrez told Nazario that the issue escalated because he hadn’t exited his vehicle, the lawsuit states. He was also allegedly told that he could leave without charges if he would ‘chill and let this go’

‘Yeah, you should be!’ one of the officers – Joe Gutierrez – responded during the stop at a BP gas station in Windsor, Virginia.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, Nazario says his constitutional rights were violated during the traffic stop.

The two sides in the case dispute what happened after Gutierrez joined Windsor Police Officer Daniel Crocker in the stop. 

At the time, Nazario was coming from his duty station at the U.S. Army Medical Corp and going home, attorney Jonathan Arthur said on Friday.

Nazario drove his SUV to a well-lit gas station where, according to the lawsuit, the two officers got out and immediately drew their guns and pointed them at Nazario after they got out of their cars.

The officers then attempted to pull Nazario out of the vehicle while he continued to keep his hands in the air. Gutierrez then stepped back and pepper-sprayed Nazario multiple times as officers yelled for him to get out of the car. 

‘I don’t even want to reach for my seatbelt, can you please? … My hands are out, can you please – look, this is really messed up,’ Nazario stammered upon being pepper-sprayed, his eyes clenched shut.

The lawsuit adds that Nazario’s dog, which was inside a crate in the back of the SUV, started choking as a result of the pepper spray. 

The traffic stop was captured on Nazario’s cellphone video, and the body-worn cameras worn by Crocker and Gutierrez, according to the lawsuit.




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