Off-duty cop pulls gun on man who bought candy
A convenience store customer in California found himself staring down the gun barrel of an off-duty cop who thought he was stealing a $1.19 pack of Mentos, according to a report.
Jose Arreola, 49, wound up in the terrifying situation on March 16 after he entered the Chevron gas station mini-mart in Buena Park to buy his wife — who was waiting in the car outside — the scotch mint candy.
“I put [the Mentos] on the counter and I gave the cashier $20,” Arreola recently told The Orange County Register.
“As he’s getting my change I grab the Mentos and put them in my left jacket pocket and as soon as I put them in my pocket I hear someone with a loud voice behind me say, ‘I’m a police officer — take that out of your pocket!’” Arreola said.
Video of the incident then shows the shorts-wearing cop pull out his gun.
“Put it back! I’m a police officer!” the officer says as he draws his gun. A startled Arreola then tells the cop: “I just paid for this.”
The unidentified officer tells Arreola again to “put it back,” to which Arreola complies and places the Mentos on the counter.
“He tried stealing that from you,” the cop can be heard saying to the cashier, then asks, “Did he pay for this?”
The employee simply responds, “Yeah.”
“He paid for it? Are you sure?” the officer asks and the cashier then responds again, “Yeah.”
That’s when the cop offers his “apologies” to Arreola, who has filed a formal complaint alleging misconduct.
“I feel disappointed that I was mistreated and harassed when I did nothing wrong,” he told the paper. “He was so adamant about treating me like a criminal. I didn’t feel initial fear. I felt more like anger. It made me mad. It scared me because I thought this guy can shoot me… my wife could be a widow after tonight.”
Buena Park Police Chief Corey Sianez shared The Orange County Register article in a Facebook post Friday, writing: “The video of the incident clearly shows our officer drawing his gun, but not pointing it, at a subject he allegedly believed was committing a theft.”
“We were aware of this incident after it occurred and we immediately began conducting an administrative investigation into the conduct of the officer involved.”
Sianez added: “I want you to know that after I watched the video I found it to be disturbing, as I’m sure it was to you. However, because there is an ongoing personnel investigation and potential litigation pending against the city, I am unable to discuss the details of our investigation.”
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