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Caron Nazario, Army lieutenant pepper-sprayed by police, awarded $3,600 in lawsuit

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(WINDSOR, Va.) — A Black soldier in uniform who was pepper-sprayed in his car by Virginia police officers during a traffic stop has been awarded less than $4,000 in a million-dollar lawsuit against the two officers.

The jury awarded 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario a total of $3,685 in the lawsuit against Windsor, Virginia, police officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker.

The officers faced four counts: assault, battery, false imprisonment and illegal search.

Gutierrez was ordered to pay $2,685 in damages, no malice, under liability for assault. He was cleared of all other charges.

Crocker was liable for an illegal search, no malice. He was ordered to pay $1,000 in damages. He was cleared of all other charges.

Nazario’s lawyer, Tom Roberts, said it was a “sad day” and that the verdicts fail to send the message to other police officers that “this conduct is unacceptable.”

“It is open season on citizens in Virginia and across the county,” Roberts said in a statement. “Citizens will not rest assured that scenes like this are not repeated with impunity.

The officers pulled over Nazario on the evening of Dec. 5, 2020. Body-camera footage showed Gutierrez pepper spray Nazario when he would not get out of the car.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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