A police officer in Virginia who confronted a uniformed Black Army medic at gunpoint and doused him with pepper spray during a traffic stop, an exchange captured on video, has been fired, officials said on Sunday.
The officer, Joe Gutierrez, was terminated for his role in the Dec. 5 encounter involving Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, the town of Windsor, Va., said in a statement posted on its website.
Officials said an internal investigation had determined that Mr. Gutierrez’s actions were not consistent with the department’s policies. They did not provide further details on when Mr. Gutierrez had been fired.
Body camera footage of the encounter has drawn widespread attention and criticism of Mr. Gutierrez, as well as another officer who was also involved in the traffic stop. Both officers were sued on April 2 in U.S. District Court in Norfolk by Lieutenant Nazario, who has accused the officers of using excessive force and violating his constitutional rights.
said on social media that he had begun an outside review of the encounter.
“The incident in Windsor is disturbing and angered me — and I am directing the Virginia State Police to conduct an independent investigation,” Mr. Northam said. “Our Commonwealth has done important work on police reform, but we must keep working to ensure that Virginians are safe during interactions with police, the enforcement of laws is fair and equitable, and people are held accountable.”