Thousands of Black men know the horror of wondering if they will be beaten, shot or killed by law enforcement officers who approach them, guns drawn, during traffic stops for often petty reasons — or no good reason. In many cases, police express fear for their lives and safety, and many officers have fallen.
Lucky for Nazario that he turned on the camera of his phone and recorded the outrageous actions of town police at 6:30 that Saturday night. If he hadn’t recorded their behavior and his own, where would his case be, or would it even be? Police officers’ video might never have come to light if his phone hadn’t recorded the scene.
Nazario, 27, is a graduate of Virginia State University. The lawsuit accuses the officers of illegally searching his car, using excessive force and violating his First and Fourth Amendment rights.
Video from the lieutenant’s phone and from police shows Nazario had his hands in the air as he told the armed officers, “I’m honestly afraid to get out” of his SUV as they yelled at him. One of the officers responded, “Yeah, you should be!”
He pepper-sprayed Nazario and used a slang term that suggested to the young Army officer he was facing execution. The police officer told him, “What’s going on is you’re fixing to ride the lightning, son.”
Nazario’s lawsuit accuses the officers of threatening to destroy his military career by charging him with multiple crimes if he complained about their conduct.