Off-duty cop pulls a gun on Latino man whom he mistakenly suspected of stealing a pack of mentos
The 49-year-old Latino man told a local NBC affiliate that he believes that he was racially profiled by the police officer in the Buena Park convenience store
An off-duty police officer in California reportedly did not hesitate to pull out his gun on a Latino man in a convenience store after he suspected that the man, Jose Arreola, was stealing a pack of Mentos. However, Arreola wasn't. He had bought the pack before putting it in his pocket.
A security footage at a convenience store in Buena Park, California shows Arreola going into the store on March 16 and asking the storekeeper how much the mints were. However, as he waited for the change after the paying the money and swiftly put the pack of mints in his pocket, an off-duty cop standing behind him pulled his gun on him.
The cop, who has not been identified yet, stepped in and said: "Hey, give that back. I’m a police officer," and brandished his gun.
Arreola, in the footage, appears a little taken aback as he tells the officer: "I paid for that." The officer, however, repeatedly tells Arreola to keep the mints back.
After a little argument between the two, the officer looks at the cashier and says: "He tried stealing from you." The cashier, however, tells the cop — at least three times — that Arreola had actually made the payment for the mints.
The officer then steps back and apologizes, saying: "My apologies, sir. My apologies." Arreola takes the pack and leaves the store.
Arreola had reportedly walked into the Chevron gas station in Buena Park to use the ATM and buy a pack of Mentos for his wife.
The incident was first reported by the Orange County Register's Tony Saavedra and it gradually drew huge attention on social media.
"It’s been a month and I still can’t shake it," Arreola told the Register. "It was traumatic, the whole incident. (And) I grew up in Santa Ana. I’ve been shot at before."
While talking to a local CBS affiliate, Arreola said: "The hardest thing for me was, believe it or not, it wasn’t really the gun. It was his arrogance, his way of talking to me. … He treated me like a piece of trash."
The 49-year-old Latino man told a local NBC affiliate that he believes that he was racially profiled by the police officer in the Buena Park convenience store.
The Buena Park Police Department has reportedly launched an investigation into the incident.
The Buena Park Police Chief Corey Sianez, in a statement, said: "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."