When two Virginia officers attacked U.S. Army medic Caron Nazario they had multiple opportunities to de-escalate the situation. Instead, it's clear from their own body camera footage that they made it so much worse.
There's a lawsuit brought against the Windsor Police Department by Nazario, which is presumably the reason that the body camera footage was released publicly at all.
"Windsor Police Officer Daniel Crocker radioed he was attempting to pull over a vehicle with no rear license plate and tinted windows," the Military Times reported. "He said the driver was "eluding police" and he considered it a 'high-risk traffic stop,' according to a report he submitted afterward and was included in the court filing. The written report acknowledged, however, that the SUV was traveling at a low rate of speed."
What unfolded was like a scene out of the absurdist comedy "Super Troopers," only, it wasn't funny.
Two main pieces of the story that is being lost in the reports are the lies and threats from the police involved in the incident.
In a CNN report, Natasha Chen read aloud the police report that outlined the lies police put in writing.
"You're under arrest for -- you're being detained for --" the officer said with guns drawn.
"For a traffic violation, I do not have to get out of the vehicle," said Nazario. "You haven't even told me why I'm being stopped."
At one point Officer Crocker tries to open the driver's door, which was locked. He said on the police report that Nazario assaulted him and punched him at that point. The police bodycam and Nazario's camera didn't substantiate the claim.
The report also says that Crocker "gave several more commands to comply with orders or he would be sprayed with his OC spray."
The videos show that too was a lie. In court, it is a crime to commit perjury. When a false claim is made to police officers, it too is criminal. In California, it's a crime for a police officer to lie on a police report, said the California Trial Lawyers' union. Virginia law outlines that it's a crime to lie to a police officer making the report, but doesn't specify if officers are above that law.
The other piece of the story being ignored by most media outlets is that Nazario was effectively threatened by the officers that if he sued, he would be charged.
"Officer Gutierrez eventually told Nazario he had a conversation with the chief of police and was giving him the option to let this all go," said Chen.
"There is no need to have this on your record," Gutierrez said. "I don't want it on your record. However, it is entirely up to you. If you want to fight it and argue -- I don't mean that disrespectfully, OK? I mean, you have that right as a citizen. If that's what you want, we will charge you. It doesn't change my life one way either way."
See the video below:
Threats and lies from Virginia police www.youtube.com