Virginia AG sues town where police threatened Black Army lieutenant during stop

The move comes after a months-long investigation into the racist police department

Virginia’s attorney general is taking legal action against a small town’s police department that has long been accused of discrimination against Black residents.

Attorney General Mark Herring filed the lawsuit Thursday against the Town of Windsor for violating the Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA), the Virginia Public Integrity (VPI), and Law Enforcement Misconduct Act (LEMA) through the Windsor Police Department, per NBC News

Army Second Lt. Caron Nazario (right) is shown during the traffic stop that led to his lawsuit against Windsor officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker.

The move comes after Herring’s office launched a months-long investigation into the racist police department that was prompted by a disturbing traffic stop in December 2020 involving Army Lt. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino.

TheGrio previously reported that former officer Joe Gutierrez and officer Daniel Crocker were captured on police body-cam pointing their guns at Nazario and using slang to suggest he would be executed for failing to comply with their commands.

Nazario filed a lawsuit against Gutierrez and Crocker, claiming the Windsor officers violated his civil rights when they pulled him over in his newly bought Chevrolet Tahoe SUV for having tinted windows and no rear license plate in place. A temporary license plate was visible in his rear window.

Gutierrez was ultimately fired for using pepper-spraying on Nazario and the incident prompted the governor to call for an independent investigation.

In a written statement, Herring said the Nazario case uncovered the police department’s discriminatory tactics against Black drivers, whose constitutional rights were often violated. Herring also noted the “troubling lack of policies and procedures” to prevent discrimination, per the report.

According to the suit, Black Americans are not the majority of the town’s population but they made up more than 40% of the traffic stops from July 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021, per the report. 

“We even discovered evidence that officers were actually being trained to go ‘fishing’ and engage in pretextual stops,” Herring said.

Herring is taking action in his final days in office with the lawsuit he filed Thursday against the Town of Windsor for seemingly enabling police abuse. 

BREAKING: We filed 1st pattern/practice suit against a Va. law enforcement agency to stop discrimination & unconstitutional policing. Suit is against Town of Windsor, whose arrest of Lt. Nazario was captured on video. Our investigation uncovered big racial disparities & problems. pic.twitter.com/37gJr1N1xS

— Mark Herring (@MarkHerringVA) December 30, 2021

As reported by NBC 12, the following demands are outlined in the lawsuit: 

A court order barring the Windsor Police Department from engaging in discriminatory law enforcement activities;A court-ordered period of third-party monitoring of the department, at its own expense, to ensure compliance with the VHRA, VPI, Law Enforcement Misconduct Act, and the U.S. Constitution; and,A civil penalty of $50,000 for each proven violation of the Virginia Human Rights Act.

Meanwhile, the Town of Windsor has fired back by calling Herring’s lawsuit a political stunt in a statement released Thursday

“The suit lacks any context as to what the Town has done over the past year to address any concerns,” the statement read. “The Town is stunned that this suit was filed on December 30, just hours before Courts closed for the year.”

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The post Virginia AG sues town where police threatened Black Army lieutenant during stop appeared first on TheGrio.

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