The Town of Windsor, Virginia broke its silence regarding the traffic stop incident involving two Windsor police officers and an Army Second Lieutenant. The incident occurred on Dec. 5th, 2020.
Sunday, William Saunders, the Town Manager of Windsor said the Town "acknowledges the unfortunate events that transpired," read the statement.
The incident occurred during a traffic stop, in which police pulled Army Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario over for not having a rear plate on his SUV, a lawsuit claims. That lawsuit goes on to state Lt. Nazario has a temporary plate taped to his back window.
In the lawsuit, Lt. Nazario claims the two officers, Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker threatened him and his military career.
Police body camera video obtained by 13News Now shows officer Joe Gutierrez pepper-spraying Lt. Nazario. It happened moments after Gutierrez and Crocker pulled Lt. Nazario over and drew their guns.
The Town of Windsor announced Gutierrez has been terminated from his position with the Windsor Police Dept.
Saunders said the department launched an internal investigation "immediately." The press release went on to say that when the investigation concluded, the department determined Windsor Police Department policy was not followed during the incident. The press release says the department took disciplinary action and launched department-wide requirements for more training within the department. According to the press release, the additional training began in January 2021, the month following the incident.
Sunday night, Virginia State Police announced it's launching an independent criminal investigation into the incident.
It comes after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam directed VSP to launch an independent investigation to review the incident and actions of the officers.
The Town did not include any information regarding what actions were taken against the second officer, Daniel Crocker, or his current job status within the department. 13News Now reached out to Saunders to inquire about the second officer, but we have yet to hear back.
Saunders said the Town has openly provided documents and video related to the incident and will continue cooperating.
Saunders ended the press release with the following statement:
"We are saddened for events like this to cast our community in a negative light. Rather than deflect criticism, we have addressed these matters with our personnel administratively, we are reaching out to community stakeholders to engage in dialogue, and commit ourselves to additional discussions in the future."