Virginia NAACP calls for policing reform across the Commonwealth

The growing calls follow a traffic stop that ended with a Black and Latino Army Officer getting peppers sprayed

WINDSOR, Va. – There are growing calls for change across the Commonwealth after body camera video showed a traffic stop that ended with a Black and Latino Army officer getting pepper-sprayed.

The video has been seen by millions across the country, in conjunction with a cell phone video shot by Caron Nazario, giving a first-hand view into his interaction with police as they drew their weapons on him, eventually, pepper-spraying him before pulling him out of his vehicle. The incident happened in Windsor, Virginia, not far from the Suffolk area.

One of the officers has since been fired and the town manager said an internal investigation finds the officers did not follow department policy.

On Monday night activists, community leaders and politicians gathered to share their message following the incident.

Delegate Don Scott, a Democrat of the 80th District, said the incident is reflective of a need for police reform from top to bottom.

“Culture eats training for lunch. The culture in this organization as demonstrated by those two officers means that this is acceptable. It was the norm. They did not feel like they would be punished,” Scott said.

He and others are calling for changes across the Commonwealth, asking Governor Ralph Northam for a special session to pass a bill to remove qualified immunity. Delegate Jeff Bourne, a Democrat of the 71st District, is the patron of the bill.

“I’m not here to suggest that that is the end all be all to really righting the wrongs in our criminal justice system, we have to fully examine our use of force standards across the state,” Bourne said.

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