I Guess They're Not All On The Same Side: Cops Brutalize Soldier For [Checks Notes] Leading Them To A Well-Lit Area

from the whatever-doesn't-kill-you-makes-you-more-of-an-asshole dept

But for video.

The twist? This time the cops brought their own damnation to the party.

Cops like to pretend they and the boys in actual camouflage uniforms are BFFs, united against the constant threat of evil. Cops think they’re soldiers. It’s unclear whether soldiers think they’re cops, but the people sending them orders certainly think they are. I mean, we don’t go from zero to “Team USA America: World Police” without some nudges from those on and off the battlefield.

Here’s where this all intersects: two Windsor (VA) officers decided the best response to what appears to be a routine traffic stop was a whole lot of violence, both physical and mental. The body cam video shows just how much at least one officer overreacted to a man who just wanted to survive the unexpected interaction with law enforcement.

This is what happened to Caron Nazario — an Army medic. He bought a new car. And, as everyone knows (including the cops who pulled him over) new cars don’t have rear plates. They have temporary paper tags located inside the rear window where they won’t be destroyed by, say, any weather whatsoever.

Despite this being common knowledge, these officers (Joe Gutierrez, Daniel Crocker) effected a traffic stop. Things were unnecessarily escalated because Nazario chose to do something everyone — even cops — say is a good idea. From the lawsuit [PDF]:

On or around December 5, 2020, at approximately 18:34, Defendant Crocker initiated a traffic stop of Lt. Nazario on US 460 westbound in the Town of Windsor, near the Food Lion, where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour, by activating his emergency lights. The traffic stop was ostensibly for the lack of a rear license plate4 , though the temporary tags were affixed to the back of the vehicle and visible to Crocker during the pursuit. Defendant Gutierrez then joined in the pursuit.

Within seconds, Lt. Nazario submitted to Defendant Crocker’s display of authority and began to slow down. Lt. Nazario also activated his turn signal, to signal his compliance with Crocker’s implied directive to pull over. Crocker admits in real time that Lt. Nazario was complying, by relaying to dispatch that Lt. Nazario was slowing down. Gutierrez, who was listening to Crocker over the radio, was aware of both the reasons for the stop as well as Lt. Nazario’s compliance with Crocker’s signal to slow down and pull over.

It was dark, however, and it appeared to Lt. Nazario that there was no good location in the immediate vicinity to stop safely. So, for the benefit of the officer’s safety and his own, Lt. Nazario continued slowly down US 460, below the posted speed limit, for less than under a mile, until he spotted a well-lighted BP gas station. He pulled over in the parking lot. From the time that Defendant Crocker initiated the traffic stop until the time Lt. Nazario pulled over into the BP parking lot, approximately 1 minute and 40 seconds elapsed and Lt. Nazario had traveled less than a mile.

That’s how long it takes for cops to take things to the next level. No one wants to stop on a dark street. Cops who are concerned about their safety don’t want to perform traffic stops on dark streets. And cops who are concerned about their safety make the rules. (See also: a shitload of qualified immunity decisions.) So, to make sure everyone was safe, Lt. Nazario found the nearest well-lit area and stopped.

I guess that was the wrong decision. According to police spokespeople, Nazario’s careful move towards a lighted area turned this into a felony stop: one that justified whatever paranoia the officers engaged in. There was no pursuit. There was less than two minutes of activated lights before Nazario pulled over and attempted to comply with the officers’ shouted commands.

If you paid attention to the videos, you may have noticed (several) concerning details. First, the cops rolled up like they were dealing with a dangerous criminal — one who led them at low speed to a well-lit, heavily-trafficked area. Then they told him to do things that would endanger his life.

They told him to exit the vehicle. They also told him to keep his hands outside of his vehicle. Lt. Nazario’s seatbelt was still fastened. His door was locked. Complying with one order (exit the vehicle) would result in a violation of other orders (keep your hands outside of the vehicle).

You can’t win, as Lt. Nazario suspected. He pointed this out.

One officer said non-compliance of the conflicting orders would result in Nazario “riding the lightning,” presumably referring to the officer’s Taser. (But it also could refer to an instant death sentence, as being strapped into the electric chair is also referred to as “riding the lightning.” But we’ll stick with the “less lethal” option because we’re being overly charitable here.)

Then there’s the other comment made by the same officer. Nazario — recognizing the situation he’d been forced into by an officer who saw fit to escalate before having any facts in hand — said: “I’m honestly afraid to get out.”

He received this response:

“You should be.”

So, faced with these limited facts, he stayed in his car. For that, he was pepper sprayed and tased. And for that, these officers were sued.

Command control,” will say any officer worth their suddenly-jeopardized pension. That’s why cops charge into scenes with guns drawn and repeated shouts of contradictory commands. What options did Lt. Nazario have? Lower his hands to unlock the door? Move his hands out of the officers’ sight to undo his seatbelt? He did all he could to avoid being shot. And, saints be praised, he wasn’t. But he was brutalized because Lt. Nazario failed to handcuff himself and teleport into the backseat of the nearest cruiser.

This is American policing. It happens every day. Sometimes, it gets captured on camera. And it shows the cops treat everyone — even those they consider to be comrades in arms in the fight against universal evil — to be nothing more than criminals who haven’t been convicted yet.

A citizen concerned about their own well-being will make officers safer. Instead of recognizing how everyone benefited from moving the stop to well-lit area, the officers chose to view it as a “felony stop” and reacted as though someone was leading them into danger. But the only person they put in peril was a guy just trying to drive his new car home. Hopefully, the court will see through any assertions about “training and experience” or “officer safety” and send these cops back to face a jury.

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Comments on “I Guess They're Not All On The Same Side: Cops Brutalize Soldier For [Checks Notes] Leading Them To A Well-Lit Area”

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52 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Certainly can’t blame him for doing what he did.

The cops were riled up by the time he stopped. (Continuing to a safe place instead of stopping immediately: Assumed contempt of cop.)

They were more riled by the driver’s (reasonable under the circumstances) declining to obey mutually exclusive orders. (Failure to immediately obey: Contempt of Cop)

He’s not the first person to get the shitty end of the stick under these circumstances. But black people don’t have a monopoly either on wanting a lighted area to pull over at, or getting attacked by angry cops for doing so.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, Black people don’t have a "monopoly" in being abused by police. But they sure as fuck have cornered the market, along with the Native population and other groups.

I didn’t realize the Oppression Olympics were also this year.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"But they sure as fuck have cornered the market, along with the Native population and other groups."

<looks at the actual statistics of police brutality by demographic>

That they have. Being brown or latin means you are, in the same type of encounter, vastly more likely to end up harrassed, beaten or dead through no fault your own than if you are white.

That’s not hard to understand, however, given that there is a frightening overlap between cops and members of white supremacy groups, as the FBI found out a while ago.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Damien says:

As far as I’m concerned the recorded statements from those cops should have insts tly resulted in thee termination, pension revocation, and prosecution for assault. The fact that the police didn’t do ANYTHING until the video was released to the public makes the entire department culpable.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Hopefully, the court will see through any assertions about "training and experience"

What training, as there was a total lack of tactical control by the cops. Two individuals trying to deal with the situation in their own way is a recipe for disaster. There should be a protocol, and training, to set which cop issues commands, and which one hangs back and watches the suspect.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Two individuals trying to deal with the situation in their own way is a recipe for disaster.

What you call disaster they’d likely consider the point. If cops are issuing conflicting orders such that it’s impossible to follow all of them then suspect(s) will always be ‘resisting arrest/lawful orders’, which allows police to justify any treatment they want and gives them a lot of leeway as a result.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There should be a protocol, and training

Aren’t we beyond training as a means to fix this stupid shit? If someone needs to be ‘trained’ to realize that shouting conflicting orders doesn’t make sense, I’d argue that dipshit should be relegated to flipping burgers, and even then, under close supervision.

Common sense shouldn’t require training. And if these cops are going to use the defense that they weren’t trained not to use conflicting orders, then I think it’s time to re-evaluate the qualifications for being a cop, starting with asking them if they’re stupid or something.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I assume you mention this in order to avoid conflicting orders from being issued between two cops. If that’s the case, I recommend you watch the video again.
The first cop was issued the conflicting orders all by himself. Then the second cop started echoing the most recently issued order from the first cop and proceeded to escalate the issue.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"There should be a protocol, and training, to set which cop issues commands, and which one hangs back and watches the suspect."

Oh, they do have that; "Warrior" training which teaches them to act with violence by reflex if anything happens. Don’t twitch or sneeze when talking to a US cop; and, quite often, the informal training in whatever militia or white power-group they’re in which teaches them all the tricks of beating a black man into a coma or on to a slab without getting a slap on the wrist for it; and the protocol they are taught by years on the force to always have the back of a brother with a badge.

I guess they have regular training in policing as well, but obviously that one’s not considered important enough to stick.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Tased if you do, dead if you don't

Instead of recognizing how everyone benefited from moving the stop to well-lit area, the officers chose to view it as a "felony stop" and reacted as though someone was leading them into danger.

Given the threats and conflicting orders I suspect that the treatment had nothing to do with him ‘leading them into danger’ and everything to do with them wanting to terrorize and brutalize someone, such that nothing would have resulted in a safe and civil stop. If they were willing to act like this in a well lit area where the presence of cameras was almost a given I would not have put good odds on him surviving an interaction with those psychotic goons had he pulled over in a dark area where the only narrative regarding what happened was theirs.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Tased if you do, dead if you don't

"nothing would have resulted in a safe and civil stop"

From the evidence, I suspect this is true. From what I can see, while they claim the issue is about the lack of a rear plate, I suspect that they really just wanted to find out why a black man was driving a new car. They might have backed down on finding out he was military, but I suspect that since it apparently took them 90 seconds to go from "peaceful stop" to "tase him" and they ensured that he couldn’t possible have obeyed all their commands, he would not have come out of this safely.

Sadly, I’d say he did the right thing – make sure he’s on camera and make sure he’s heard stating that he’s in fear of his safety if he obeys, then hopes that this cop knows the difference between a taser and a gun, unlike some recently.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
crade (profile) says:

"Hopefully, the court will see through any assertions about "training and experience""

Is that really what we want? These are pretty clearly systematic issues, and training, culture and protocols are going to legitimately be a big part of the cause of situations like this. They keep treating these issues as if individual bad officers are the root of the problem, which is really just treating symptoms

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Something something the version of the story they stopped telling after the video was out that there was no plate at all & the tint was sooooooooo dark (how dark was it) that Mitch McConnell wanted to take away its voting rights.

Of course in the video one can see the temp plate in the window.
So this excuse got shoved aside.

That state sen idiot who wanted to make QI a state level thing, should be forced to watch this video & explain how QI will make sure these idiots don’t try to execute a citizen again.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘This is American policing. It happens every day’

there is so much truth in this statement! i dont understand why politicians and lawmakers are doing nothing to change things! i dont understand why the country has been allowed to become this way, ie, basically a POLICE STATE! everyone appreciates the job the police do but surely, that job doesn’t include putting innocent members of the public into the cross hairs just because they can be and just because the police officers want to exert the over abundance of power. every time an incident like this takes place, those trying to protect what was done to someone of complete innocence form a queue a mile long and dont understand why the officers and force concerned have to pay compensation. however, as we all know, when an incident in reverse happens, no one wants to defend the public, even if another person is killed for doing no wrong and being unarmed, hoping that the officers will be discharged, exonerated and allowed to do the same thing again tomorrow. the society that’s been created is disgraceful and shameful and shows the type of demented persons we have doing the job and worse, being in charge. i wonder how bad things have got to get before it all goes completely shit-shaped and severe violent repercussions take place?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

i dont understand why politicians and lawmakers are doing nothing to change things

Corruption, cowardice, on top of knowing that they’ll never be on the receiving end of such treatment.

Problems are easy to ignore when you never face them and between politicians who have bought into the idea that those in authority like cops are never wrong and those that don’t dare speak out lest they be slammed as ‘pro-criminal’ the number of politicians willing to even mention that the police aren’t shining beacons of justice never mind propose laws to reign them in are few and far between.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
David says:

Re: Re:

i dont understand why politicians and lawmakers are doing nothing to change things!

To change things, you need a majority. Is there a majority of lawmakers who look like a policeman would single them out and beat them up?

Don’t fix what ain’t broken for you. And for those people who look like you and vote for you.

Anonymous Coward says:

How stupid are cops , 2orders make no sense ,
Do they know people use seat belts,
I think it’s a case of driving while black, also do they not know new cars have no license plates,
If this person was white would they have tased him
.?
I can understand a black man being nervous about getting out of the car
Since police tend to injure black men when arresting them
Either the cops are racist or else they are very badly trained
Eg basic how to deal with someone driving wearing a seat belt
Do they not practice basic traffic stop procedure as part of their
Training.?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

This is American policing. It happens every day. Sometimes, it gets captured on camera. And it shows the cops treat everyone — even those they consider to be comrades in arms in the fight against universal evil — to be nothing more than criminals who haven’t been convicted yet.

I agree with everything in that statement except one thing:

criminals who haven’t been convicted yet.

That’s not how you treat criminals. Nor does being a criminal suddenly make blatant abuse, physical harm, death threats, and in some cases on the spot execution justified. That’s where the real problem lies in the US. The fact that a simple label strips a person of all humanity and rights and others are fine with it. "Oh, they deserved it, they were criminals" is the mantra that perpetuates this treatment. Because as long as those responsible for applying the label of "criminal" think they can get away with their inhumane acts through it’s use, they will continue abusing it.

The real truth of American police: They are worse than those they arrest. A murderer, a rapist, and a thief can’t hold a candle to the crimes an American cop can get away with.

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Anonymous Coward says:

OH PLEASE
I CALL BULLSHIT
He refused to pull over for a mile and a half with their lights and sirens on ,
Then instead of complying with officers he takes time to set up a camera to record it all while still not complying To get martyr sympathy going
which all you woke idiots lapped right up .
And the only one who had race on his mind was the driver .
He was the one who had no tags in the usual place on vehicle which had tinted windows so the officer had no idea who was driving at time of initial encounter
And hey did you see the recent shooting of a police officer during the white pick up truck encounter ?
Driver literally gets out of truck with a rifle and shoots officer dead in less than 3 seconds .
So no don’t play the cops are the bad guys in all situations .

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Damien says:

Re: Re:

Sigh…

He took just over a minute at low speed, with blinkers on, to comply with the order to pull over safely in a well lit place. Doing so, pulling over only when it’s actually safe to do so, is bog standard policy and police suggestion in every sane jurisdiction in the country. Don’t pretend otherwise. As for "setting up a camera"? You do realize that the footage available from this incident is from the police body cameras, right?

I’m giving this trolling effort 1 out of 10, because at least you put something down on screen even if it’s as low effort as it gets.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

To get martyr sympathy going

The lack of self-awareness of you people just continues to entertain me.

He was the one who had no tags in the usual place on vehicle which had tinted windows so the officer had no idea who was driving at time of initial encounter

And once they pulled him over, they were too busy being assholes to actually notice the tag. That’s the driver’s fault?

Driver literally gets out of truck with a rifle and shoots officer dead in less than 3 seconds .

Interesting. One anecdotal incident and cops have the right to assume every person they pull over is going to do the same thing.
Several anecdotal incidents of black folks getting shot by police, and they’re not supposed to think every time they’re pulled over, the cops are going to do the same thing.

Gotta love the cognitive dissonance in you people. No matter how stupid you sound, you stick by your bullshit, come hell or high water.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: And after all that

They were cops, in uniform. This should be felony assault under color of law. Congratulations to this guy for surviving.

Cops are gunning for people. There are more people than cops. Cops fear for their safety because people in general are on the side of good, which more and more often is not the side of blue.

DNY (profile) says:

Ways the police *should* be more like the military

The cops want to be like the military do they?

Fine, let’s make them more like the military:

(1) Their rules of engagement should be as restrictive as those we give combat troops in counter-insurgency theaters.
(2) Killing a civilian by acting in breach of the rules of engagement should be as harshly punished in the police as it is in the military.
(3) Being discharged from a job with the police for cause should be as dark a blot on one’s employment record as a dishonorable discharge from the military.
(4) They should all have to undergo the same amount of descalation training that MPs undergo.

I leave the reader, especially those who have actually served in the military as I have not, to supply more ways in which making the police more like the military would simultaneously improve the quality of policing and protect Americans’ lives and civil liberties.

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restless94110 (profile) says:

You Are So Right

"We" all aren’t on the same side.

When a military officer decides to disobey orders from law enforcement repeatedly?

We aren’t all on the same side.

The US Military officer should be court martialed for insubordination. Of all people, he should have understood authority since he lives it every day of his ding dang life.

It looks like he decided that he could provoke a big pay out in a law suit and that’s just what he is doing now.

And yes, the Mexican cop talked too much shit. He let his anger at the US Military man’s blatant disobeying orders get to him.

But that doesn’t negate the US Military man’s nonsense. DO NOT RESIST ARREST. DO NOT DISOBEY THE POLICE.

Something that it seems every race understands and does. All except one race. And it apparently does not matter if members of that race are in the US Military, where obeying orders are their everyday 24/7 life.

It beggars belief. Wtf? How was this US Military person so stupid?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: You Are So Right

"The US Military officer should be court martialed for insubordination. Of all people, he should have understood authority since he lives it every day of his ding dang life."

Yes. For example, he knows that military and civilian police are completely different things and he can’t be court martialled for disobeying civilian orders.

I’ve noticed you rarely come into these threads early, you seem to dive in when everyone else has stopped talking. Does it just take you that long to come up with the dumbest take possible, or does it come naturally and you’re just late to everything?

"It looks like he decided that he could provoke a big pay out in a law suit"

Maybe the roid raging cops shouldn’t be violating peoples’ rights in ways that gives them big payouts if they’re caught on camera, then? These are supposed to be trained professionals, not weak-willed bullies who can be provoked by the merest disagreement into committing crimes (I know, supposed to be…)

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: You Are So Right

I’ve noticed you rarely come into these threads early, you seem to dive in when everyone else has stopped talking. Does it just take you that long to come up with the dumbest take possible, or does it come naturally and you’re just late to everything?

It seems more like he’s hoping to sneak in his false narratives in when they’re less likely to be challenged by facts and flags.

steve says:

Smart Man

The fact is if he reached in the car to remove his seatbelt or unlock the door, he would likely have been shot. If you say otherwise you are ignorant to the situation that coloured individuals are dealing with the in USA.

If I were in his position I would have done the same thing. Keep my hands displayed and let the officers come to me. They can open my door and they can unbuckle my seatbelt.

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