Police brutality as a result of racism and classism remain an issue in the United States.
Viral footage of an Army Lt. being held at gunpoint while getting pepper-sprayed at a traffic stop shocked many. Police brutality has extended past civilians of a minority community unto such citizens even in respected positions, as this case shows. The cop involved has been arrested.
Abuse Of Power
It is said that there are some in the police force who continue to abuse their power instead of using it to protect the people. The use of violence and unnecessary force remains an issue in the States.
Even during the Black Lives Matter protest held in a cue to mitigate police brutality, some in the Police responded with needless violence against the protesters. These are the same people who were supposed to look out for and protect the protesters.
In recent times, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are examples of lives lost needlessly due to police brutality. Countless lives have been lost over the years.
It came as little surprise when the footage of the Army Lt. getting pepper-sprayed by the police went viral. Although the incident took place in December 2020, the footage only got revealed recently.
Who Was The Army Lt.?
He is Lieutenant Caron Nazario, a Black and Latino young officer who was pulled over for driving without a license plate. From the footage, though, it looks like the car is new and has a registration on the window. Without considering these, the cop in the video aims his gun at Nazario and screams at him repeatedly to get out of the car.
The Lt. had his hands in the air all through. He expressed his fear of coming out of his vehicle to the cop, especially with a gun aimed at him and hostility emanating from the cop. To his expression of fear, the cop says, "You should be."
Then, the cop went on to pepper spray Nazario four good times. The pepper spray wasn't just harmful to Nazario but also to Nazario's dog in the back of the vehicle.
They went on to pull the Lt. out of his car, forced him to the ground, and cuffed him. According to Nazario, one cop told him that if he complained, they would throw the book at him. That simply meant they would frame him with charges such as assault on a cop, obstruction of justice, eluding the police, and so on.
Such treatment of an active duty black Army Lieutenant brings again, racism and classism.
Reactions To The Incident
The reactions to this viral video on social media have been huge. Some believe that he should have obeyed the instructions dished out by the officers before he got pepper-sprayed, while others were utterly against how it was all handled. Many requested transparency from the Windsor Police Department about what really transpired and how the issue will be handled.
It is noteworthy that the younger cop in the video appeared uneasy all through. Maybe because he did not support such treatment? You can also notice how he was urging the Lt. to relax and obey the order given.
The officer, identified as Gutierrez, has been fired. A statement released said, "The town of Windsor prides itself in its small-town charm and the community-wide respect of its Police Department. Due to this, we are saddened for events like this that cast our society in a negative light."