Chief Rodney Riddle says officers acted appropriately in initial phases but failed to properly de-escalate the tensions that followed. He also said the soldier should have complied earlier than when he did.
During a recent press conference on Wednesday (April 14), Windsor Police Department Chief Rodney D. Riddle discussed the incident that ended with Army Lt. Caron Nazario being pepper sprayed by officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker.
As previously reported by REVOLT, Nazario was pulled over at a traffic stop after he was caught driving without a rear license tag. When instructed to exit his vehicle, he asked the cops to explain why he was stopped.
His refusal to get out of his car angered the officers who pepper sprayed him, dragged him out of his car and placed him in handcuffs, all before realizing the rear tag was taped onto the vehicle the entire time.
While addressing the incident, Riddle praised the officers for responding “relatively well” ahead of the actual traffic stop. “There were certain actions that Mr. Nazario took that raised red flags for those officers based on their training,” he said. “They may be dealing with something beyond an ordinary run-of-the-mill stop. Those officers initially reacted relatively well in my opinion.”
The police chief also took accountability for their shortcomings. “I’m gonna own what we did,” he said. “My guys missed opportunities to verbally de-escalate that thing and change that outcome.”
When a reporter later asked whether he thinks Nazario deserves an apology, Riddle honestly replied, ”I don’t believe that,” and said that he wished the veteran “would have complied a whole lot earlier.”
Following the incident, Nazario filed a lawsuit against Gutierrez and Crocker. His attorneys argue that the Windsor police chief is continuing “a false narrative and victim blaming.” They maintain that their client complied with the officers’ request to stop and responded quickly to each of their commands.
Crocker has since been disciplined for his involvement, and Gutierrez was fired from his position as Riddle lost confidence in his ability to “effectively engage this community.”
A joint probe by the Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation remains active.
#Windsor Police Chief Rodney Riddle spoke publicly last night for the 1st time since the viral traffic stop video was released. He said his officers don’t have to apologize to Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario & they acted reasonably given their point of view. @13NewsNow #13Daybreakers pic.twitter.com/5KFHbktxcf
— Ashley Smith 13News Now (@13AshleySmith) April 15, 2021
“Those officers initially acted relatively well, in my opinion,” said Windsor Police Chief Rodney Riddle. Here’s more from earlier today, as Chief Riddle explains both what he thought his officers did right and what opportunities he felt they missed. #WindsorPD #Virginia #Dogwood pic.twitter.com/RRUC0bW0Af
— Brian Carlton (@BrianCarltonVA) April 15, 2021
#Windsor Police Chief Rodney Riddle answered questions about a December traffic stop that has gone viral. Here he's explaining his opinion about the incident. https://t.co/QeT8gwzze6 pic.twitter.com/r2BORIgehu
— WTKR News 3 (@WTKR3) April 14, 2021
Fire them all.