WINDSOR, Va. -- State lawmakers joined members of the NAACP in a news conference Monday evening, calling for transparency, a civil rights investigation and an end to a state law that would help shield police officials from liability.
These pleas for justice stem from the December traffic stop of U.S. Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario, a Black and Latino man, whose encounter with police that night was caught on video.
"One of the things that made me sick to my stomach was seeing this man in uniform disrespected in the manner in which he was treated. It was shameful, it was embarrassing, it was disgusting," said Virginia Delegate Don Scott.
Nazario was not charged with any crime, and he has since filed a lawsuit against the two Windsor Police officers seen in body camera video pepper spraying and pointing their guns at him during the traffic stop.
"There are so many things that went wrong with this traffic stop, but it is indicative of what is happening around the country and how officers walk away from cases with no disciplinary action that include termination and or firing," added Valerie Butler, President of the Isle of Wight NAACP chapter.
Following a recent investigation request by Governor Ralph Northam, Windsor Police officials announced that department policy was not followed and one of the officers, Joe Gutierrez was fired.
The Isle of Wight Chapter of the NAACP is asking for disciplinary action for the second officer involved. "He needs to be fired too," said Butler.
The Windsor Police department announced all training procedures are being reviewed and improved, but NAACP representatives said more must be done at the state level.
"We are demanding that Governor Ralph Northam call for special session to bring qualified immunity for law enforcement officers to and end," said Daquan Love, Executive Director for the Virginia NAACP.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring expressed his support in demanding a civil rights investigation.
Herring is requesting information about the department procedures and policies, personnel records and complaints over the past 10 years regarding use of force and the treatment of people based on race, color or national origin.
"We are saying to this town of Windsor to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States of America, that we as black and brown individuals have been targeted by an unjust and unfair criminal justice system for far too long and enough is enough," said political activist, Brandon Randleman.
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