A man buying a $1.19 pack of Mentos at a convenience store almost turned deadly when an off-duty police officer drew his gun thinking that the man stole the candy, CBS Los Angeles reports.
The incident was captured on surveillance at a store in Buena Park, California. Jose Arreola can be seen paying for candy before the officer walked in.
The officer approaches him after he put the pack of candy in his pocket.
“Hey, give that back. I’m a police officer,” the officer says in the video before he pulls out his firearm.
Arreola tells the office repeatedly that he paid for the candy before the officer tells him to “Get your cash and leave.”
The store clerk gives Arreola his money back and when the officer approaches the cashier he asks if he paid for it, which the cashier confirms that he did.
“My apologies. My apologies,” the officer says before Arreola pays for the candy again and leaves.
“The hardest thing for me was, believe it or not, it wasn’t really the gun,” said Arreola to CBS Los Angeles about the March 16 incident. “It was his arrogance, his way of talking to me. […] He treated me like a piece of trash.”
The Buena Park Police Department addressed the issue in a Facebook post saying they wanted to be transparent about the incident.
“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,” the police chief wrote in the post. “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.”
Arreola filed a formal complaint against the officer, but said he does not want him fired.
“There’s a lot of good people, officers, but when one or two do bad things, it just reflects on the whole department,” Arreola said.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.