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California police officer arrested after pepper spraying teen’s pizza

By Mason White 3:50 AM August 4, 2013
Pizza illustration 

By: David Ross
(Scroll down for video) A police officer was arrested and charged with assault related charges after he pepper sprayed a pizza pie that ultimately sickened five people, according to police reports in California.

Orange County Police said that a deputy faces jail time after being accused of pepper spraying a teen’s pizza without his knowledge during a traffic stop last year.

Juan Tavera, a six-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department of Orange County, faces a year in jail if convicted of pepper spraying the pizza and ultimately sickening five people who ate it, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Tavera, 30, reportedly arrested a 19-year-old named as John Doe for a traffic violation, when he noticed a pizza in the back seat and pepper sprayed it without notifying the teen, the statement said.

The teenager returned home to share the pizza with four friends, and the five people became ill as a result of ingesting pizza contaminated with pepper spray. The teen became suspicious and notified the sheriff’s department on his interaction with the deputy, the district attorney’s office said.

Tavera is charged with misdemeanor assault by a public officer and is set to be arraigned Monday in Newport Beach.
The officer is currently on paid administrative leave.