Caron Nazario was driving his brand new SUV through the town of Windsor last December when he saw a police cruiser signal for him to pull over.
Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, filed a lawsuit on Friday in the US District Court against two Virginia police officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker for violating his civil rights.
Police body camera footage shows the moment officers pursued Nazario, who then pulled over at a well-lit gas station.
The lawsuit states that Crocker and Gutierrez "approached with guns pointed at the auto, gave opposing instructions to a uniformed soldier behind the wheel, and then pepper-sprayed him - all while threatening him with different charges and levels of violence for non-compliance according to body camera footage and legal filings, the officers". "80% of the time", and that the maneuver informed him that Nazario was "at least 80% probability, a minority", the lawsuit claims.
Police say they pulled Nazario over because he had no rear license plate, but the vehicle's temporary tag is visible in the police video.
Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario just purchased a new SUV and it had the proper temporary plates on the auto. The two sides in the case dispute what happened after a second police officer joined the first one in the stop.
Nazario reportedly alleged that the officers told him they'd hit him with charges of obstruction of justice, eluding police, and assault on a cop if he complained about the incident.
"Yeah, you should be", officer Joe Gutierrez is heard replying, as reported by The New York Daily News.
In response one of the officers appears to pepper spray him in the eyes four times and demand he "get out of the auto now".
"I'm actively serving this country and this is how you're going to treat me?"
Army Lt. Nazario was driving his new vehicle home.
The AP reached out to Windsor police for comment, but an email was not returned and their voice mailbox was full.
During the arrest, the suit says Nazario had his hands up, offered no resistance, but was pepper sprayed and violently knocked to the ground and detained.
"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 says.
An officer also stated that Nazario was "fixing to ride the lightning", in an apparent reference to execution by electrocution.
In the harrowing video, Windsor cops approach Lt. Nazario with guns drawn, shouting at him to get out of the auto as the lieutenant tells them he's afraid to move.
The officers struck Nazaro with their fists, knees and hands, forcing him onto his face and placed him in handcuffs, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims the officers used this force despite not having any probable cause to believe Nazario had committed a crime.
The lawsuit states: "These cameras captured footage of behaviour consistent with a disgusting nationwide trend of law enforcement officers, who, believing they can operate with complete impunity, engage in unprofessional, discourteous, racially biased, unsafe and sometimes deadly abuses of authority".
What happened to respect the military?