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Trial date set for Army lieutenant's lawsuit against Windsor police officers

The traffic stop happened on December 5, 2020, when former police officer Joe Gutierrez pepper-sprayed Lt. Caron Nazario, whose hands were up out of his car window.

NORFOLK, Va. — The five-day trial in Army Lt. Caron Nazario's lawsuit against two Windsor police officers captured on camera pepper-spraying and threatening him during a traffic stop will start March 28.

The incident happened on December 5, 2020, when former police officer Joe Gutierrez pepper-sprayed Nazario, whose hands were up out of his vehicle window.

The lawsuit was filed in April after an internal investigation was completed, with the public raising major concerns about the incident. Gutierrez was then fired.

The other officer named in the lawsuit, Daniel Crocker, was also on the scene. He still works with Windsor Police.

Nazario’s attorney, Thomas Roberts, called today's hearing the first step in a long legal process.

"The most important thing about today is we have a green light to begin the intense discovery that we plan to do," he said. 

"We will be issuing subpoenas and written questions that have to be answered under oath by the defendants and we will ask for documents that they need to produce."

Roberts said there is a chance the town of Windsor and Windsor Police Chief Rodney Riddle could be added as defendants in the case.

In June, Virginia State Police handed its investigation over to Hampton’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell.

A judge appointed a special prosecutor after the Isle of Wight Commonwealth’s Attorney, Georgette Philips, recused herself.

Bell will look at all the evidence from the December traffic stop. A big piece of that is the body camera video.

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