Joe Gutierrez, the Windsor, Virginia police officer who pepper-sprayed a Black and Latino Army officer has been fired, but apparently only in response to growing nationwide outrage after video showing the “illegal traffic stop” and assault went viral. As CBS News reports, two officers held Army Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario “at gunpoint, handcuffed him and doused him with pepper spray.”
Police officers in Virginia held a Black, Latino Army lieutenant at gunpoint, handcuffed him and doused him with pepper spray — all during an illegal traffic stop.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 12, 2021
Many Americans have been outraged by the incident, yet one more example of people of color being attacked by the nation’s police officers who are supposed to “serve and protect.” In this case the victim was not only innocent of any wrongdoing, he is a medic in the U.S. Armed Forces.
And they’re questioning why it took more than four months – the incident took place December 5 – and only after video went viral, for the police department leadership to take appropriate action.
The president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill, summed up what many were saying:
A reminder that this grotesque incident happened in DECEMBER. An internal investigation then concluded Dept policies weren’t followed. But this ofcr has only been fired now after the video went viral. We need the indep investigation to keep pulling the thread on this Dept. https://t.co/gbdaS8vraw
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) April 12, 2021
The Town of Windsor released a statement on Sunday calling the incident “unfortunate.”
“The pursuit and ultimate stop resulted in the use of pepper spray against Lt. Nazario by Officer Gutierrez,” it also reads. It claims an internal investigation “began immediately,” and “it was determined that Windsor Police Department policy was not followed.”
“This resulted in disciplinary action, and department-wide requirements for additional training were implemented beginning in January and continue up to the present. Since that time, Officer Gutierrez was also terminated from his employment.”
Good. If there was no video released, this seemingly would’ve been ignored. It happened FOUR months ago. The officer should’ve been fired then. https://t.co/GF94Tm6Qqg
— VoteVets (@votevets) April 12, 2021
🙋♂️Raise your hand if you think the Virginia cop that pepper-sprayed Black Army officer Lt. Nazario getting fired isn’t enough. He should be indicted.
— Steve Herzfeld 🌊 (@american2084) April 12, 2021
Important to point out that this officer was fired after the bodycam video became public because of the civil lawsuit, not after the traffic stop, which happened back in December https://t.co/edNdFcPhGt
— kellymcb (@kellymcb) April 12, 2021
A cop got fired because of public backlash, not because the police department wanted to do the right thing – and this is usually the case around disciplinary action. Cops are taught to protect their own, not to protect us. We need to reimagine community security #DefundThePolice https://t.co/DpFkeg8vMH
— Salem Snow (@Salem4Congress) April 12, 2021
He wasn’t fired because the people in charge saw the video. He was fired because the people in this country saw the video.
— Irishrygirl (@irishrygirl) April 12, 2021
Let’s make it clear, he was fired because there was a video that went viral. He got caught. They got caught. Imagine how many other times it happened without videos going viral to fight back. https://t.co/GxJC6EdHyE
— Catalina Cruz, Esq. (@CatalinaCruzNY) April 12, 2021
Officer Joe Gutierrez has been fired.
Gutierrez was not fired after he brutally attacked Lieutenant Nazario on Dec. 5 2020.
He was fired after the video of the attack went viral. https://t.co/HMr0VZqDV9
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) April 12, 2021
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