A US Army officer who was held at gunpoint and pepper-sprayed following a Virginia traffic stop has now filed suit against two police officers alleging racial profiling, according to reports.
Lt. Caron Nazario, a member of the US Army Medical Corps, was wearing his military fatigues when he was pulled over on December 5 in Windsor reportedly for driving his new Chevy Tahoe without license plates.
A temporary paper license plate was taped to the rear window.
Bodycam video shows that officers pulled their weapons and ordered him to get out of the vehicle.
The incident soon escalated when Nazario, described as Black and Latino, refused to comply, saying he was afraid to get out of the vehicle.
“Yeah you should be,” one of the officers said in response. Nazario was pepper-sprayed, removed from the SUV and handcuffed while laying the ground.
“This is f–ked up,” Nazario can be heard saying in the video. He also reportedly captured video of the incident on his own cell phone.
Nazario filed a lawsuit against officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker on April 2, alleging his rights under the First and Fourth Amendments were violated.
“He’s a sworn member of the United States Army. He swears an oath to support to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic — and the way these officers behaved, this implicates the oath that he takes,” said Jonathan Arthur, an attorney for Nazario, according to Vice.com.
Arthur added that he hopes the lawsuit sends a message to law enforcement officers “that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”