“One minute, Jose Arreola was buying a pack of Mentos at an Orange County service station. The next minute, he was at the business end of a gun drawn by an off-duty Buena Park police officer who thought Arreola had stolen the $1.19 roll of mints.” Either the un-named Buena Park police officer really wanted that last pack of Mentos or he needlessly jumped the gun after walking in on the middle of a standard gas station convenience store transaction and misunderstood what was happening.
The security camera footage also recorded audio, which pretty much tells the story.
“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.”
Then the cop asked the cashier if Arreola had paid for the mints.
Yes, says the cashier.
“Are you sure?” the officer asks.
Again, the cashier says yes.
“My apologies,” the officer tells a visibly shaken Arreola.
Sorry isn’t enough, Arreola said in an interview. He has retained an attorney and requested financial damages from the Buena Park department.
“Are you seriously pulling a gun out over a pack of Mentos?” he asks.
Not an unreasonable question. Buena Park’s chief of police doesn’t appear to be happy about the indecent.
The encounter, which Buena Park Police Chief Corey Sianez called “disturbing,” had already triggered an administrative investigation, he said in a Facebook statement posted Friday.
“I can definitely assure you that our investigation will be thorough, and if the officer is found to be in violation of any policies and procedures, he will be held accountable,” Sianez said.