RICHMOND – The Virginia State Conference NAACP (Virginia NAACP) is outraged by the decision of special prosecutor Anton Bell, Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney to not criminally prosecute former Windsor Police Officer Joe Gutierrez.
Virginia State Conference NAACP President Robert N. Barnette, Jr. issued the following statement today in response to the Special Prosecutor:
“It is inconceivable that Hampton Commonwealth Attorney Anton Bell could justify or excuse the actions and conduct of former Windsor Police Officer Joe Gutierrez during an encounter with Caron Nazario, a Black second lieutenant in the United States Army. The video of this encounter has been widely circulated and provides the disturbing evidence of the bias held by this former officer. This video also adds yet one more piece of irrefutable evidence that demonstrates the need to immediately change the culture of policing so that Black people will not continue to be placed at great risk by the implicit bias of law enforcement officers. We call upon the Office of the Attorney General to review the evidence in this case to ensure that the rights of all Virginians are upheld and protected equally under the law.”
The Virginia NAACP’s commitment to the issue of improving interactions between Black Virginians and law enforcement is at the forefront of our advocacy and policy agenda. The ruling of Special Prosecutor Anton Bell has only strengthened our resolve and renewed our conviction to continue to advocate for the end of qualified immunity, the implementation of civilian review boards with subpoena power in each locality, and improved continuing education and training of law enforcement officers to end implicit bias.