Virginia attorney general sues city over police treatment of blacks after Caron Nazario investigation

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This is the first case brought under a new law that allows the state’s senior law enforcement officer “to prosecute to end systemic violations of the rights of Virginians,” according to a press release from Herring’s office.
The pursuit was sparked by an incident in December 2020, when two officers from the Windsor Police Department arrested 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario and repeatedly used pepper spray on him and pointed their guns at him, according to the communicated.

“While our investigation was fueled by the egregious treatment of Lieutenant Nazario that we all saw in body camera footage, we found this incident to be indicative of much bigger issues within the department,” Herring said. in the press release.

“Our months-long investigation revealed huge disparities in law enforcement against African American drivers and a troubling lack of policies and procedures to prevent discriminatory or unconstitutional policing,” Herring said. “We even found evidence that the officers were in fact trained to go ‘fishing’ and engage in pretext stops.”

The complaint was filed in Isle of Wight Circuit Court on Thursday. He alleges that Windsor “violated the Virginia Human Rights Act (‘VHRA’) and the Virginia Public Integrity and Law Enforcement Misconduct Act (‘VPLEM’) in its provision of law enforcement services through the police department. from Windsor.

CNN has contacted the Windsor Police Department and city officials but has not received a response.

The lawsuit says the Windsor Police Service “lacks adequate policies to ensure that it uses force in a non-discriminatory manner, that it conducts traffic stops constitutionally, without pretext and impartially, and that members The public is able to submit and voice their complaints in a transparent manner that respects the principles of due process. “

The attorney general’s investigation found that black drivers made up about 42% of the department’s traffic stops from July 2020 to September 2021, the statement said. Blacks have been arrested 200-500% more often than one would expect based on the city’s population.

Officers who arrested Nazario said they believed his SUV was missing a license plate.

Managing Director William Saunders confirmed to CNN in April that one officer was fired and the other remained in post.

Nazario filed a lawsuit in April in federal court for $ 1 million in compensatory damages, claiming officers violated his rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.

Officers have denied the allegations and the case is ongoing.

CNN’s Madeline Holcombe, Ray Sanchez and Kaanita Iyer contributed to this report.

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