ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. (WAVY) — One of the two Town of Windsor police officers involved in a traffic stop incident involving a Black U.S. Army officer in uniform has been terminated from his job at the police department.
A release from the town manager of Windsor stated that Officer Joe Gutierrez was terminated following an internal investigation of the incident that occurred on December 5.
In the release, officials say “the pursuit and ultimate stop which resulted in the use of pepper spray against Lt. Caron Nazario by Officer Gutierrez” required an internal investigation to determine the appropriateness of Gutierrez’s action.
Officials say the investigation into the incident “began immediately.”
“At the conclusion of this investigation, it was determined that Windsor Police Department policy was not followed,” officials said.
The investigation resulted in disciplinary action and additional department-wide training, which began in January and is still ongoing, according to the release.
“Since that time, Officer Gutierrez was also terminated from his employment,” officials said.
“The Town of Windsor has remained transparent about this event since the initial stop, and
has openly provided documents and related video to attorneys for Lt. Nazario.”
Officials say they will continue to provide information related to the traffic stop in their commitment to openness.
“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.”
The news comes just hours after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered the Virginia State Police to conduct an independent investigation into the incident, which began when Officer Gutierrez and Officer Daniel Crocker conducted the traffic stop of U.S. Army Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario.
It resulted in the officers drawing their guns, pointing them at Nazario and using a slang term to suggest he was facing execution. He was also pepper sprayed.
In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Gov. Northam described the incident as “disturbing” and said it angered him.
“Our Commonwealth has done important work on police reform, but we must keep working to ensure that Virginians are safe during interactions with police, the enforcement of laws is fair and equitable, and people are held accountable,” Northam said.
Windsor officials say they have joined local officials in requesting an investigation by the Virginia State Police, and are also calling for a “full and complete review of the officers’ actions.”
Northam ended his statement with an invitation for Nazario to meet and talk with the governor regarding the incident.