The town of Windsor, Virginia, recently consented to independent reviews of allegations against the town’s police force.
The agreement, announced by Virginia’s attorney general, settles a high-profile lawsuit spurred by a disturbing December 2020 traffic stop where Caron Nazario, an Army lieutenant, was pepper-sprayed by police officers.
The agreement, signed on Thursday, outlines a multi-faceted approach to improve policing in Windsor. According to Military.com, the agreement stipulates additional officer training and a commitment to work toward accreditation by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission.
“What we all saw in the shocking traffic stop video involving Army Lt. Caron Nazario was an egregious and unjust use of power,” Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares said. “I join the hundreds of thousands of good and decent law enforcement officers who stand against the kind of police misconduct we witnessed.”
Additionally, Windsor Police will hold officer training exercises twice a year and submit to the Isle of Wight Commonwealth’s Attorney for review of any allegations of excessive force or misconduct against its officers. In exchange for these commitments, the state Attorney General’s Office will cease arguing that Windsor police broke a new law by depriving Nazario of his rights during the traffic stop incident.
The lawsuit traces back to a traffic stop captured on video, in which officers drew their guns and pointed them at Nazario, who was in uniform at the time, according to Military.com. Nazario later sued the two officers involved for $1 million in damages, but a Richmond jury awarded him only $3,685.
Windsor officials have stated the recent settlement agreement aims to “avoid further unfair and unjustified financial impositions placed upon the citizens of Windsor by the Office of the Attorney General.”
Over the past seven years, Windsor officers have used force 20 times in 23,000 encounters, six of which involved African Americans, leading to only one valid complaint, according to a town statement.
Announcing news of the settlement, the town stated, “The Town of Windsor has worked diligently within its police force to enhance training, improve policies and procedures, and ensure the public that its law enforcement operates without prejudice and within the law.”
As Windsor takes steps toward improved law enforcement practices, its actions set a precedent for other municipalities grappling with issues of police misconduct and community trust.
This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.