Jurors chosen for Nazario police brutality lawsuit

Published 1:55 pm Monday, January 9, 2023

Today marks the first day of testimony for Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario’s $1 million lawsuit against Windsor Police Officer Daniel Crocker and ex-officer Joe Gutierrez.

By 11:25 a.m lawyers for Nazario, Crocker and Gutierrez and federal Judge Roderick Young had nearly completed jury selection. The tria resumed at 1:30 p.m.

The federal case, which was moved from Norfolk to Richmond, is set for a five-day trial. Nazario, who is of Black and Latino descent, accuses the two white officers of racially motivated police brutality for having held him at gunpoint during a Dec. 5, 2020, traffic stop while they shouted conflicting commands at him to keep his hands out of his car’s window and exit the vehicle. Video footage of the incident, which went viral in April 2021 and led to Gutierrez’s firing, culminates with Gutierrez repeatedly pepper-spraying Nazario and using knee strikes to force the lieutenant out of the car and onto the ground. 

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Crocker had pulled Nazario over for allegedly lacking a rear license plate. Gutierrez responded to the scene when Crocker reported a “felony traffic stop” to dispatchers. Nazario had a temporary New York plate taped to the inside of his car’s rear window, but Crocker said he didn’t see it and accused the lieutenant of eluding police for having driven roughly a mile down Route 460 to a BP gas station before stopping.

Nazario is represented by attorney Jonathan Arthur of the Richmond firm Thomas H. Roberts & Associates. Crocker has retained Anne Lahren of the Virginia Beach-based firm Pender & Coward. Gutierrez is represented by Jessica Swauger and Coreen Silverman of the Glen Allen firm Hancock, Daniel & Johnson.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.