Joe Gutierrez, the Windsor, Virginia police officer who pepper-sprayed a Black and Latino Army officer has been fired, but apparently only in response to growing nationwide outrage after video showing the "illegal traffic stop" and assault went viral. As CBS News reports, two officers held Army Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario "at gunpoint, handcuffed him and doused him with pepper spray."
Many Americans have been outraged by the incident, yet one more example of people of color being attacked by the nation's police officers who are supposed to "serve and protect." In this case the victim was not only innocent of any wrongdoing, he is a medic in the U.S. Armed Forces.
And they're questioning why it took more than four months – the incident took place December 5 – and only after video went viral, for the police department leadership to take appropriate action.
The president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill, summed up what many were saying:
The Town of Windsor released a statement on Sunday calling the incident "unfortunate."
"The pursuit and ultimate stop resulted in the use of pepper spray against Lt. Nazario by Officer Gutierrez," it also reads. It claims an internal investigation "began immediately," and "it was determined that Windsor Police Department policy was not followed."
"This resulted in disciplinary action, and department-wide requirements for additional training were implemented beginning in January and continue up to the present. Since that time, Officer Gutierrez was also terminated from his employment."