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Windsor officers found liable in 2020 traffic stop of Black soldier

A large tan building with windows on the front
Peter Aaron
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that two Windsor police officers violated the rights of Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario during a 2020 traffic stop.

A jury ruled Tuesday that one Windsor police officer used excessive force, and another illegally searched the car of a Black Army lieutenant when he was pulled over in December 2020.

But 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario was awarded a fraction of what he sought.

The jury ordered Officer Daniel Crocker to pay $1,000 for illegally searching Nazario’s vehicle during the stop. And Ex-Officer Joe Gutierrez was ordered to pay about $2,700 for assaulting Nazario.

“We feel the verdict was fair,” said Richard Matthews, an attorney for Crocker. “It was courageous on the part of the jury given the political climate, and we’re very pleased.”

Nazario had asked for $1 million in damages and accused Crocker and Gutierrez of illegal search, assault, battery, and false imprisonment.

Jonathan Arthur, Nazario’s attorney, said the verdict is disappointing, but the lawsuit did lead the Town of Windsor Police Department to revise its policies and training.

“It spawned a whole bunch of change that is necessary to protect others from this type of conduct again,” Arthur said.

Judge Roderick C. Young of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia previously ruled the officers had probable cause to stop Nazario, because his rear license plate had not been properly displayed.


Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.