NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — An Orange County Sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty Friday to pepper spraying a teen’s pizza during a routine traffic stop, District Attorney’s officials said.
Juan Tavera, 30, was sentenced to one year of informal probation and 100 hour of community service after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of assault or battery by a public officer.
Tavera was a six-year veteran of the department, assigned to Laguna Hills. Prosecutors say on Sept. 8, 2012, Tavera arrived at the scene of a traffic stop where 19-year-old John Doe was pulled over by a different officer.
Prosecutors say Tavera found a pizza box on the backseat of the victim’s car and pepper sprayed it without the victim’s knowledge.
When the teenager went home and shared the pizza with four friends, all of them experienced discomfort as a result of ingesting pepper spray, according to the District Attorney’s office. The teen called the Orange County Sheriff’s Department after becoming suspicious of his earlier interaction with the deputy, officials said.