NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A 30-year-old Orange County sheriff’s deputy has been accused of pepper-spraying a teen’s pizza during a traffic stop last year.
Juan Tavera, who was a six-year veteran assigned to the South Operations Division, was charged with one misdemeanor count of assault or battery by a public officer in connection to the Sept. 8, 2012 incident.
On that day, a 19-year-old was pulled over by an officer for a traffic infraction in Laguna Hills.
Tavera allegedly arrived on the scene to assist the other officer, found a pizza in the backseat of the victim’s car and secretly pepper-sprayed it.
The teen later returned to his home and shared the pizza with four friends. All five then experienced discomfort.
The victim notified the sheriff’s department, which immediately investigated the case and sent it to the Orange County district attorney’s office.
Tavera, who is currently on paid administrative leave, is expected to be arraigned Monday. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail.