A police officer in the rural Virginia town of Windsor was recently terminated after body-camera footage of a Dec. 5, 2020, traffic stop and use-of-force incident was released.
After video of the incident “became viral,” Windsor Police Chief Rodney Riddle said, he no longer felt Officer Joe Gutierrez could continue to “effectively serve the community.”
The video appears to show officers conducting a traffic stop on Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario. Officers are seen pointing their firearms at Nazario, spraying him with a chemical agent, and forcibly extracting him from his vehicle.
Police said they had initiated the stop because they had been unable to see a license plate on the vehicle. According to a lawsuit Nazario filed in US District Court, the vehicle was new, and a temporary tag was affixed to the interior of the rear window.
The goal of this video is to illustrate how those charged with evaluating the reasonableness of an officer’s behavior may analyze video evidence of police use of force.
Thomas Owen Baker worked as a police officer for approximately nine years. He is currently pursuing his PhD in criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and was selected by the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2018 as a Tillman Scholar. His research focuses on police use of force and its social implications. Follow him on Twitter @thomasowenbaker or catch him discussing the policing on The Discipline and Punish Podcast.
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