Town of Windsor uploads redacted video of November traffic stop involving Army lieutenant

Isle of Wight

WINDSOR, Va. (WAVY) — After a December traffic stop involving two Windsor police officers and a U.S. Army lieutenant gained national attention this month, the town has released more body camera footage of a town officer interacting with the lieutenant — this time, the footage is from a traffic stop in November.

The town released the footage on YouTube Thursday. The video is about 16 minutes long and shows a traffic stop from Nov. 7.

The video was deleted from the town’s account by 4:45 p.m. Thursday. 10 On Your Side reached out to town officials, who said they took it down because some of Nazario’s identifying information was visible in the video.

Town Manager William Saunders said the video will be redacted and reposted as soon as possible.

The redacted version of the video was uploaded to the town’s YouTube channel just before noon Friday.

The video shows a marked difference between the two traffic stops in November and December, both in the behavior of law enforcement as well as Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario.

Nazario’s attorney has said he is “not aware of any issue” with the November traffic stop.

Nazario is the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against two Windsor police officers filed this month. He alleges the officers used excessive force and violated his rights, among other things, during a traffic stop at a BP gas station on Dec. 5.

Nazario, who is Black and Latino, was pepper-sprayed during the incident and put into handcuffs after he did not comply with officers’ orders to get out of his vehicle. The officers had classified the stop as high risk because he didn’t immediately stop and the tint prevented them from seeing into the vehicle. In the lawsuit, Nazario said he was both scared and confused by conflicting orders.

After he was pepper-sprayed, he was treated by medics then later released by the officers and allowed to leave the scene.

BELOW: Body camera footage from Dec. 5, 2020 traffic stop in Windsor.

In the video released then deleted on Thursday, a police officer — who was not involved in the controversial December stop — pulls over Nazario’s new SUV for allegedly driving 19 mph over the speed limit on Nov. 7. He also notes to dispatch that the vehicle has “no tags displayed.”

According to footage, the officer traveled more than a minute and a half before stopping the cruiser behind Nazario’s SUV in a Food Lion parking lot.

In the video, the officer approaches the SUV. Nazario tells him he got the vehicle in New York and that the vehicle’s temporary license plate was displayed in the tinted back window. The officer asks for his license and registration and also uses a flashlight to view the plate through the back glass.

At that point, Nazario asks the officer to let him go with a warning, but the officer says he won’t do that because 19 mph over the speed limit is close to a reckless driving by speed offense.

“I don’t give breaks at 19 miles over the speed limit,” the officer is heard saying in the body camera footage.

They then have a brief discussion about whether Nazario’s license has been updated with a current address. Before the officer goes back to his car, Nazario asks him if “this is gonna take long?” The officer explains it could take a few minutes because he’s writing it by hand and tells Nazario to “sit tight.”

The officer spends several minutes writing the ticket, then reapproaches the vehicle. He explains the ticket and Nazario’s options to either pay ahead or show up in court in a few months for the ticket.

Nazario then signs the ticket and reiterates to the officer he would have appreciated a warning and that he has someplace to be by a certain time. The officer again says he doesn’t give warnings for 19 mph over the speed limit.

The two then exchange goodbyes such as “take care” and “drive safe” and both leave the parking lot.

The reason for Windsor releasing the footage is unclear, but it’s previously been noted that Nazario was pulled over in November in Windsor.

Nazario’s attorney Jonathan Arthur released a statement Thursday night, saying the release of footage with Nazario’s address and personal information was retaliation.

Arthur wrote: “It is a credit to the character and integrity of Lt. Caron Nazario that all they have managed to find was footage of a speeding ticket, a traffic stop. It is a traffic stop where Lt. Nazario again waits for a clear, safe space to pull over. A traffic stop where Lt. Nazario remains calm and courteous. It is a traffic stop that is irrelevant to the deplorable actions of the town of Windsor’s police officers. It is footage whose release is only intended to retaliate against and to retraumatize their victim.”

Arthur continued: “We have notified the appropriate authorities and this aggression will not go unchecked.”

Virginia State Police are independently investigating the traffic stop at the request of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Windsor Police Chief Rodney Riddle.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s Office of Civil Rights is also investigating the patterns and practices of the Windsor Police Department.

The FBI is also aware of the incident and said it “will review all available facts of the incident to determine what federal response is warranted.”

However, in a press conference on Wednesday, Riddle said he was confident external investigations would find the department has not done wrong.

One of the officers involved in Nazario’s December traffic stop, Joe Gutierrez, was fired on Sunday. He had previously been disciplined after an internal investigation into the stop, but Riddle said he had lost confidence in Gutierrez’s ability to serve the town after the videos from the stop went viral online.

The other office involved, Daniel Crocker, has not been fired despite calls for the department to do so. Riddle said Crocker had been on the force less than a year when the traffic stop happened.

During the Wednesday press conference, Riddle also said the traffic stop upset him, however, he didn’t believe Nazario should get an apology.

“I don’t believe so… Lt. Nazario took certain actions that created where we got to. We’ll let the courts sort that part out and litigate that,” Riddle said Wednesday.

Riddle said the incident was a “teaching moment” and the department has since implemented additional training for its officers.

He said the officers missed opportunities to deescalate the situation, but he doesn’t believe the stop was illegal, as Nazario’s attorney has alleged.

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