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No verdict in fifth day of Windsor traffic stop lawsuit trial

Army Lt. Caron Nazario's commanding officer described him as "outgoing" and "gregarious," but the traffic stop has left him shaken and impacted his military life.

RICHMOND, Va. — Jurors will resume deliberation on the $1 million lawsuit filed by Army Lt. Caron Nazario, who is suing two Windsor police officers for a controversial December 2020 traffic stop, on Tuesday.

Officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker stopped Nazario for a missing rear license plate in 2020. In police body camera video, they pulled out their guns, told him to get out of the car even though he was scared, and eventually, Gutierrez pepper sprayed him.

Nazario's commanding officer for the Army told jurors he talked to Nazario about what happened the morning after the traffic stop. According to his testimony, the commanding officer said Nazario has never been the same.

He described Nazario as “outgoing" and "gregarious,” but the traffic stop has left him shaken and impacted his military life.

Under oath, he said Nazario requires more specific and clear commands from his superiors, as well as encouragement. He is also more hesitant to fulfill military duties.

Defense attorneys had the chance to cross-examine the witness, which the lawyer for Gutierrez did. Crocker's lawyer declined to question any further. 

She pushed the commanding officer on why he gave Nazario an “outstanding” mark for emotional stability in his military medical evaluation for the past year.

The witness said Nazario can complete his duty but now requires additional support.

The judge called the jury back into the courtroom to give them a choice: either deliberate until 5:30 p.m. or adjourn until Tuesday. The jury chose to do both, working towards a verdict until the court could not stay open any longer.

When jurors return, they will examine four counts against the two Windsor police officers: assault, battery, false imprisonment, and illegal search.

In August, a federal judge already ruled that Officer Crocker is liable for an illegal search, violating the 4th amendment when he searched Nazario's car.

Jurors will determine what the damages of this could look like and if Gutierrez is also liable for the search.

The courthouse will be closed on Monday because it is Martin Luther King Day. Court will adjourn at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

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