A jury awarded Black army lieutenant Caron Nazario $3,685 in his lawsuit against police on Tuesday. Nazario sued for $1 million after cops assaulted him during a traffic stop on Dec. 5, 2020 in Windsor, Va.
Nazario, who was in uniform during the stop, is shown on body camera footage being pepper sprayed and wrestled to the ground. One officer in the violent encounter, Joe Guiterrez, used his knees to hit Nazario’s legs, according to the lawsuit.
Before the assault, “Nazario held his hands in the air and repeatedly asked, ‘Why am I being stopped?’ according to body camera footage of the incident. The officers can be seen in the video approaching the SUV and aiming their weapons at it.”
According to police, Nazario was pulled over for driving without a visible rear license plate. Video footage however, shows a temporary plate in his rear window, ABC News reports.
While the jury found the Windsor police officers liable for some violations, they awarded Nazario far less than the $1 million in damages for which he sued. The jury found the Windsor police officers Joe Gutierrez liable for assault and awarded Nazario $2,685 in compensatory damages from that violation, AP News reports.
The jury also found that officer Daniel Crocker illegally searched Nazario’s SUV. They awarded Nazario $1,000 in punitive damages.
During the trial, Nazaro’s partner stated that the army vet “suffers from anxiety, is prone to panic attacks, and has frequent nightmares,” since the incident.
Gutierrez was fired in April 2021, the month Nazario filed his lawsuit.