Plaintiff alleged claims of assault, battery, false imprisonment and illegal search during a traffic stop in December 2020. Coreen Silverman and Jessica Swauger presented evidence that the plaintiff unnecessarily escalated the stop by failing to stop when Officer Crocker initiated the stop and failed to obey at least 30 lawful commands to exit the car, which required OC spray to gain compliance. Plaintiff alleged that he wanted to pull over in a well-lit area, but the jury saw evidence that he passed multiple well lit areas where he could have stopped and did not. The jury heard Plaintiff say at least three times that he was not getting out the car, and even indignantly told Mr. Gutierrez to “get your hands off me!” During the incident Mr. Gutierrez told Nazario he was getting ready to ride the lightning when Nazario asked, “What’s going on?” On another occasion, Nazario said he was “honestly afraid” to get out the car, to which Gutierrez responded, “You should be!” The jury concluded that these words constituted assault and awarded Nazario $2,685.
The federal jury concluded Mr. Gutierrez was not liable for battery, false imprisonment and illegal search.