May 15, 2021

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Nazario case: Why US police checkpoints are so dangerous for people of color

No one wants to be stopped by the police while he or she is driving. But for non-residentsWhite Such restrictions are especially dangerous to people in the United States. The case of Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario makes this clear.

This is a scene that happens several times a day somewhere in the United States: On the evening of December 5, 2020, in Windsor, Virginia, police stopped a car on a charge of trespassing, including a non-car.Whiter The man sat on the wheel. When this happens again and again, the meeting does not end properly for the arrested person.

The driver of the car was Lieutenant Caron Nazario of the U.S. Army Medical Corps, who is of African and Latin American descent. His treatment by two police officers at a gas station has caused anger and horror for some Americans in a few days. The confusing thing about the pictures: they show that there is practically no chance from the beginning for Nazario to get out of the situation without harm.

“Get out of the car now!”

The gruesome incident was recorded by officers’ body cameras and Nazario’s phone camera. According to the footage, police are approaching the car with weapons already drawn. Your first instruction: “Keep your hands out the window!”

Nazario, dressed in his military uniform, held his hands outside the driver’s side window as instructed, “What’s going on? Why did you draw your guns?” Seconds later, the next instruction was: “Get out of the car now!” Nazario is still flexible. If he leaves the car, he must break the first instruction, while the guns of two aggressive policemen are pointed at him.

Nazario quietly tries to figure out why he was stopped, and draws attention to his status as a military man. “I serve this country. Is that how I am treated?” He complains. “I too am a senior, learned to obey,” replied one officer, as if Nazario was submissive to him. “You have received an order. Follow it!”

When Nazario asked again why he was being treated so aggressively, one of the police officers replied: “If anything happens here you will ride the lightning, my son”. The term can be understood as a threat to the use of stun guns. Or, like the political analyst and writer Matthew Quariclia, even referring to the electric chair based on the cover of Metallica’s album “Ride the Lightning” In a commentary to the American broadcaster NBC Holds.

Nazario finally tells the officers he’s afraid to get out of his vehicle and gets a loud response: “Yes, you should too. Get out! Get out!” As a result, it means to him: whether he leaves the car or not, he is at risk of injury.

A minute later, a policeman sprays pepper spray on his face several times. Although Nazario suffers from vision, he raises his hands to look at the officers. “I’ll grab my seat belt,” he finally warned the patrol and left the car. The cops push him to the ground together, while Nazario repeatedly asks: “Can you please tell me what’s going on here? Why am I being treated like that?” ”

“American police create their own embarrassment”

“Like many drivers before him, he knows he can justify the use of firearms by the police and if he keeps his weapons out of sight of officers,” NBC analyst Quariclia commented on the scene. “This is the rhetoric of police orders. Getting out of the car means you could be shot, strangled or drowned by unnecessary force. But as we have seen, understand why hesitant to stay in the car and talk to the police is one stop, even a recipe for harm.”

There are many examples in the United States of how quickly such encounters with the police can escalate, especially for people of color. In 2014, a South Carolina police officer was sentenced to five years in prison for shooting Lever Jones. Black The motorist who wanted to achieve his ID in his vehicle by following the instructions of the officer. Two years later, a police officer asked African-American Planto Castile to show him his driver’s license and record. After Castil told the officer he had a gun in his car, the officer shot him as he reached for his documents.

“It is safe to say that no one wants to be stopped by the police,” the Washington Post wrote, referring to the US police’s approach to traffic restrictions. “But Black And (others not-White) People have extra horror, fear and danger. ”

Quariglia says: “Police in the United States are creating their own embarrassment.” They demand serious obedience. But if you obey the orders, there is a risk of submission, handcuffs, arrest and violence. “But if you are reluctant to expose yourself to violence, it incites more violence.”

Nazario did not violate any traffic rules

Authorities in Windsor, Virginia, said they stopped Nazario because they believed his vehicle’s license plate number was missing, which they misidentified. The car was brand new and the lieutenant was on duty keeping a temporary license plate behind the window. After the incident, the police released him without a ticket or payment.

“You don’t have to put this in your file,” an official said in the bodycam footage. “I don’t like it in your file. Anyway, it’s totally yours. If you want to fight and argue … that’s what you want, we’ll punish you.”

Akhim Bakery walks down the street in front of Ahmed Arbury's house.

Nazario sees this as a bizarre attempt: “If you do nothing for us, we will do nothing for you.” He is now suing two officers for illegal seizure, excessive use of force, unlawful search, violation of his right to freedom of expression, and seizure of liberty for bodily harm and $ 1 million in damages.

“No legal action by Nazario will change my life, one way or another,” an officer told the lieutenant, according to videos. He misrepresented it: After a Windsor police investigation into the incident, the policeman was fired.

Inflammation: NBC, “Vox”, CNN, “AJ +” on Twitter

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