Urge Victim-Blaming Police Chief to Resign

Target: Rodney Riddle, Windsor, Virginia Police Chief

Goal: Resign from your role as police chief after victim-blaming comments.

Windsor, Virginia Police Chief Rodney Riddle has broken his silence on the incident where two Windsor Police officers reportedly pulled over a Black and Latino active-duty Army Lieutenant with guns drawn, eventually pepper spraying him and forcibly removing him from his vehicle. Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario is pressing charges against the two officers in question. When speaking about the incident, Chief Riddle put Nazario at the center of the blame, saying: “Lt. Nazario took certain actions that created where we got to and I think we’ll let the courts work that part of it out.” Chief Riddle also said that an internal investigation of the incident resulted in disciplinary actions for the officers involved, but that he would not specify what those actions were. The main officer involved was only fired this week, after the video of the alleged incident went viral and caused national outcry. Chief Riddle did not comment whether or not the officer’s alleged actions, in themselves, were worthy of removal from the force–whether recorded or not.

When the press asked Chief Riddle if he had anything to say to Nazario, he said: “I’m glad that he’s OK. At the end of the day, I’m glad nobody got hurt, that situation ended the best way it could’ve. I wish he had complied a lot earlier.” When asked if Nazario was due an apology, Chief Riddle reportedly said, “I don’t believe so.”

This apparent victim-blaming for the seeming excessive use of force cannot be tolerated. Those in positions of power should be holding police accountable to their commitment to protect and serve the public. Chief Riddle has apparently demonstrated that he does not have the public’s safety and security as his top priority. Sign this petition to urge Chief Riddle to resign.

PETITION LETTER:

To Chief Riddle,

Your recent comments on the incident involving Lt. Nazario and two Windsor police officers are shameful. Lt. Nazario was reportedly approached by two officers with guns drawn during a normal traffic stop. Furthermore, the officers seemingly refused to tell Nazario why he was being asked to step out of his vehicle and why they were approaching him with such force. One officer even reportedly used threatening language, telling Nazario that he was “fixin’ to ride the lightning” and that he “should be” scared to exit the vehicle. This type of apparent aggressive and antagonistic behavior from police is terroristic and, so often, it occurs across racial lines. This alleged incident was no different: Nazario is Black and Latino.

Your statement that Nazario should have complied sooner places the onus for de-escalation of the situation on the citizen when it should be on the police themselves. Furthermore, the event ended with Nazario reportedly pepper sprayed, pulled out of his vehicle, and handcuffed on the ground. There were no charges pressed against Nazario, so all of this was done to an innocent man–a man that you reported did not deserve an apology from the Windsor police.

This is not how police are expected to behave. This alleged incident was deplorable and should not serve as a “learning moment.” I urge you to resign from your position as Windsor Police Chief.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Windsor Police via Jonathan Arthur

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