Black Army Lieutenant Sues Virginia Police Who Held Him at Gunpoint, Used Pepper Spray, Threatened to Kill Him

Caron Nazario, a lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps, is suing two police officers who held him at gunpoint, pepper-sprayed him and physically assaulted him with knee-strikes to the legs during a traffic stop at a gas station in Windsor, Virginia, on Dec. 5, 2020.

Jonathan Arthur, Nazario’s attorney, told Democracy Now how the police threatened to kill Nazario:

It’s incredible, isn’t it, Amy — and thank you for having me — that in response to a calm question, “Hey, what did I do wrong?” one of our law enforcement felt it appropriate to threaten the man with, you know, state-sanctioned murder. And that particular expression, “ride the lightning,” is colloquial for being electrocuted in the electric chair, what Virginia called “Old Sparky.”

And there’s an even more grotesque layer to that statement when you take a look at the way that the death penalty has been disproportionately applied to African Americans and people of color in Virginia and in the South. It’s a terrifying statement, especially when you’re facing the barrel of a gun, and especially because you have been pulled over ostensibly because one of the officers said you didn’t have a license plate, which was, in fact, factually false.

(Source: Democracy Now)

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