“Our Commonwealth has done important work on police reform, but we must keep working to ensure Virginians are safe during interactions with police, the enforcement of laws is fair and equitable, and people are held accountable,” Northam said in a statement.
Neither Windsor Police Chief Rodney Riddle nor Mayor Glyn Willis immediately responded to requests for comment Sunday. Windsor is a town of about 2,600 residents, located about 30 miles west of Norfolk.
Nazario was driving a newly purchased SUV when the officers demanded he exit the car last December because he did not have a permanent rear license plate. When he told police that he was “honestly afraid to get out” of the car, one of the officers replied, “Yeah, you should be!”
According to the complaint, Nazario, a health services administrations officer with the Virginia National Guard, was in uniform when he was driving home Dec. 5. Body-camera footage of the incident went viral over the weekend, with his name trending on Twitter.
The federal lawsuit, obtained by The Washington Post, was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia on April 2. Nazario is seeking at least $1 million in damages and for the court to rule that Gutierrez and Crocker violated his constitutional rights, specifically the Fourth Amendment. The lawsuit claims police also threatened to end Nazario’s military career if he spoke out about the incident.
The officers eventually released Nazario without charges. But Nazario’s lawyer previously told The Post that he has had recurring nightmares since the incident.
Timothy Bella contributed to this report.