Caron Nazario saw Eric Garner, who he called ‘uncle,’ die in police hands. Then officers pepper-sprayed him six years later.

   < < Go Back
from The Washington Post,

Caron Nazario, a 27-year-old Army second lieutenant who, while still in uniform, had been pulled over by a pair of officers in Windsor, Va. Both men had drawn their weapons, and now both were screaming at Nazario, who struggled to understand what they wanted from him.

“What’s going on?” he asked, in a video from the December traffic stop that has since exploded across the Internet.

“What’s going on is you’re fixing to ride the lightning, son,” Officer Joe Gutierrez shouted back, using a slang term that can refer to Tasering or to execution.

Nazario, who is Black and Latino, didn’t want to pull over in the dark, so he continued on for a brief stretch until he reached a well-lit BP gas station. It was there that Gutierrez and another officer, Daniel Crocker, drew their handguns and demanded that Nazario step outside.

Despite Nazario’s composure — quietly asking for an explanation, pleading with the officers to relax, holding his hands up through the window — Gutierrez pepper-sprayed him in the face before pulling him out and striking him repeatedly with his knee.

“I’m actively serving this country and this is how you’re going to treat me?” Nazario said, never once raising his voice.

More From The Washington Post (subscription required):