Virginia prosecutors, it will be up to people to decide whether criminal charges should be filed against two police officers involved in a traffic stop mission where Lieutenant Caron Nazario of the Black Army was tear gassed in the face. review the case. Nazario was stopped by Officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker of Windsor Police on December 5, 2020 while in uniform. Camera footage possibly from the mission shows officers gunning down Nazario and Gutierrez inhaling tear gas at him. Hampton Commonwealth attorney Anton Bell, who was appointed special member of the mission last month, told ABC News he received the assignment “a few weeks ago” and was reviewing the file. “I made my decision based on facts and the law,” Bell told Virginia’s The Daily Press. “That’s it. I don’t care about public opinion… I’ll focus on what officials can and can’t do — what’s legal and what’s not.”
He said he didn’t have time for an announcement in this case. Isle of Wight Commonwealth attorney Georgette Phillips, whose office is prosecuting the duties in Windsor, withdrew herself because her office was working with one of the officers, according to WVEC, the Hampton ABC affiliate . The incident caused a stir after body camera footage was released in April of the town of Windsor. Nazario was cornered because there was no rear-end. He was driving a newly purchased Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and taped the temporary license plate with hardware inside the vehicle’s rear window, according to a lawsuit filed against officers in April. After news of the mission broke, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam called the mission “a look of fear” and directed the Virginia State Police to conduct an independent investigation in April.
SEE ALSO: Police pull gun and shoot doctor Black Latino army while blocking traffic, mission says Gutierrez was fired in April but Crocker continued to work. As for the federal civil case against two officer medics, Nazario’s attorney in the case, Jonathan Arthur, told ABC News that duty is being moved through the court system. “Defense counsel has appeared and has issued the first supporting prescription, asking the lawsuit to continue until the end of the criminal investigation and asking the structure to ignore the first amendment request. My client objected and we will review the project regulations,” Arthur said. The lawsuit claims the officers violated Nazario’s constitutional rights and used force despite not having any probable reason that Nazario committed the crime. Nazario was not charged during the mission. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Gutierrez wrote in the police report that he felt he had to choose between accusing Nazario of being charged or releasing him without charge.
“I have decided to release him without any charges,” he said in the report. “The reason for deciding this is very simple; the military is the only place where the dual principle applies. Which means that no matter what happens at the civilian construction site, the military can still sue him. Is An Old Soldier, I don’t want to see your career ruined because of one wrong decision.” In the mission response documents, Crocker denied that any number plates could be seen on Nazario’s vehicle and denied that his conduct was improper. He also admitted that Nazario was tear gassed on the job. Gutierrez denied using unreasonable force during the mission. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also opened a civil rights “pattern and credentials” investigation into the Windsor Police Department, which is ongoing.
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