Jury deliberation on hold in case against Windsor officers
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Friday marked day five in the controversial lawsuit involving a U.S. Army lieutenant and two Windsor police officers, with the jury deliberations now on hold for the long weekend.
Lt. Caron Nazario is suing officer Daniel Crocker and now-former officer Joe Gutierrez for claims of assault and battery, false imprisonment and illegal search during a traffic stop in 2020.
Closing arguments began around 1 p.m. Friday and continued until 5:30pm.
The plaintiffs called their last witness Friday morning, Nazario’s battalion commander Lt. Charles Reinhold.
Reinhold says Nazario called him after the traffic stop to let him know what had happened.
Reinhold testified he noticed changes in Nazario’s personality since the incident. He says Nazario was an “outgoing officer” prior to the incident, and then became more to himself, and appeared to mentally struggle afterwards.
The defense did question Reinhold on why he allowed Nazario to deploy to Washington, D.C. during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack if Reinhold felt the lieutenant was dealing with behavioral health issues. Reinhold said Nazario was his only medical officer.
In closing arguments, plaintiffs said that while the traffic stop may have started lawful, that quickly changed.
The defense says Gutierrez’s conduct was in response to Nazario refusing to comply. The defense says it was Nazario who escalated the situation by refusing to exit his vehicle.
Crocker’s defense argued that he did not act with malice during the stop. The defense claims had Crocker acted with malice, he would not have gone into the BP gas station to get Nazario water like he requested for his pepper-spray burns.
The defense also recognized that Crocker told Nazario that dumping water on his face and eyes would have made the pain worse. Defense says if Crocker was acting with malice then his actions would have been different.
Nine jurors will have to decide if and how much those two officers own in compensatory and punitive damages.
Nazario is suing for $1 million in damages.
With no verdict on Friday, the jury will resume deliberating on Tuesday due to Monday being a federal holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
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