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Video shows Officer Gutierrez shock uncooperative driver

Posted at 4:57 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 18:16:24-04

SMITHFIELD, Va. — Police body-worn camera video obtained by CBS 6 showed fired Windsor Police officer Joe Gutierrez using a Taser on a man during a 2016 traffic stop in another jurisdiction.

In an effort to learn more about Gutierrez, CBS 6 sent Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to several jurisdictions in Isle of Wight County.

Smithfield Town Manager Michael Stallings confirmed that Gutierrez worked with the Smithfield Police Department from August 2016 to July 2017.

Through the FOIA request, Stallings provided CBS 6 with Gutierrez’s body-worn camera video from his involvement in another traffic stop on December 19, 2016.

According to the police narrative report, another officer pulled over a driver for failing to stop before turning right at a red light on Main Street. The officer stated that the driver provided him with false identification and then called for backup.

It was just after 12:30 a.m.

The encounter is captured on 30 minutes of then-Officer Gutierrez's body-worn camera video.

Gutierrez is seen standing near the passenger side holding a Taser.

The other officer orders the driver out of the vehicle.

The driver can be heard saying he won’t get out of the car.

“Right now, you’re going to get handcuffed for giving me false information,” the officer told the driver.

The officer pulls the driver out of the vehicle by his left arm and onto his stomach onto the pavement.

The video shows Gutierrez walk to the driver’s side of the vehicle, while the other officer struggles to handcuff the driver.

“You’re going to get Tased,” the other officer told the driver.

Gutierrez is then heard yelling “Taser” three times before deploying the device, which hits the driver on the left side of his lower back.

“Rollover or you’re going to get it again,” Gutierrez can be heard telling the driver who is then handcuffed by the other officer.

About 10 minutes later, the driver attempts to run from the police cruiser while in handcuffs.

They are quickly tackled by Gutierrez and the other officer.

Neither the driver nor the officers required medical attention.

The driver was also found to have a blood alcohol content of .11, according to medical records provided by the Town of Smithfield.

Virginia law states that a driver’s BAC can’t exceed .08.

In an incident description written by then-Smithfield Police Officer Joseph Gutierrez, Gutierrez wrote that his “main concern was the dangling handcuff and [the officer’s] safety” when he deployed his Taser.

“During his employment with the Town of Smithfield, we received no complaints on him [Gutierrez], and he received no disciplinary actions. He was involved in one use of force incident,” Town Manager Stallings said in a statement. “He left the employment of the Town of Smithfield to seek another position that offered him career advancement and better pay.”

Gutierrez also worked for the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy from August 2017 until July 2020, according to Capt. Tommy Potter.

Potter said then-Deputy Gutierrez left to accept a position with the Windsor Police Department.

The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office denied CBS 6’s FOIA request for any excessive force reports or complaints against Gutierrez citing an exemption for personnel records.

Gutierrez is at the center of a use of force incident that has been seen worldwide.

Now-terminated Windsor Officer Gutierrez is captured on police body-worn camera with his gun pointed at U.S. Army 2nd. Lt. Caron Nazario before pepper-spraying and handcuffing the soldier during a December 2020 traffic stop.

The traffic stop was captured on Nazario's cellphone video, and the body-worn cameras worn by Officer Daniel Crocker and Gutierrez, according to the lawsuit.

“These cameras captured footage of behavior consistent with a disgusting nationwide trend of law enforcement officers, who, believing they can operate with complete impunity, engage in unprofessional, discourteous, racially-biased, dangerous and sometimes deadly abuses of authority...” the lawsuit said.

Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered Virginia State Police to conduct an "independent investigation" into the incident.