A Southern California cop who was not even on-duty or in uniform tried to be a hero by pulling out his gun on a man inside a convenience store, accusing him of stealing a $1.19 roll of mints.
But it turns out, the man had paid for the candy.
The Buena Park police officer then apologized, but only after the store clerk confirmed the man had made the purchase as can be seen on the security camera video.
But the man, Jose Arreola, is still shaken up by the incident, according to the Orange County Register.
“It’s been a month and I still can’t shake it,” Arreola said. “It was traumatic, the whole incident. (And) I grew up in Santa Ana. I’ve been shot at before.”
Buena Park Sgt. Mike Lovchik declined to comment on the incident, saying an internal investigation is underway.
Police shootings have become a hot-button issue in cities across the United States, where 370 people have been shot and killed by officers so far this year, according to a database compiled by the Washington Post. The data show that the slain are typically armed.
The shootings have amplified the question, when is it appropriate for a police officer to draw a gun?
Joe Domanick, associate director of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College, said the Buena Park officer was “way out of policy, even for Orange County.”
“It’s astounding there would be a police officer who would think it’s OK to do it,” said Domanick, author of the book “Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing.” “(It’s) entirely opposite of what’s going on in police departments. You pull a gun as a last resort.”
He continued: “It shows the officer has been poorly trained or not trained at all or he’s totally unsuited to be a police officer.”
Buena Park police have not released the cop’s name, but the department’s police chief, Corey Sianez, posted on Facebook that he “found the video to be disturbing,” but we will not comment further until the investigation is over.
But it’s been a month and there isn’t much to investigate other than the cop screwed up by wrongly assuming the man was a thief.
Also, even if the man had shoplifted the candy, does he need to be threatened at gunpoint by an off-duty cop?
Of course not only doees Sianez knows this, but he is doing all he can to protect the officer, who should have been fired by now.