A California man is sharing his experience after an off-duty cop mistakenly drew a gun on him.
“My wife could be a widow after tonight,” Jose Arreola told The Orange County Register about his thoughts at the time.
Surveillance footage shows the March 16 incident in which Arreola went to a convenience store in Orange County to buy Mentos on behalf of his wife. Arreola put the mints in his pocket while waiting for the cashier to give him change.
“Hey, give that back,” the unidentified officer says on video, and pulls out his gun. He says he’s a cop.
Arreola says he paid for it, but complies with the officer’s order to put the mints back on the counter.
The officer tells the cashier that Arreola tried stealing the mints.
“Take your cash and leave,” the officer tells Arreola. “Get your cash and leave,” he tells him again as he picks up his change.
Arreola insists he paid for it. The officer asks the cashier if he paid for it. The cashier says yes.
“Are you sure?” the officer says.
The cashier confirms this again.
“My apologies, sir, my apologies,” the officer tells Arreola.
Arreola told The Register he felt anger at being treated that way by a cop he described as “arrogant, almost like cocky.”
The Buena Park Police Department has confirmed the officer is one of theirs.
“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 inside the mini-mart of a Chevron gas station in Buena Park,” Chief Corey S. Sianez said in a statement posted to Facebook. They were aware of this after it happened, and began running an administrative probe into the officer, he wrote.
Sianez also said there was a formal complaint filed over the incident, and that the complainant (Arreola) has an attorney.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
[Screengrab via Orange County Register]