Juan Tavera, Orange County Deputy, Accused of Pepper Spraying Pulled-Over Driver's Pizza

Categories: Court, Crime-iny

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An Orange County sheriff's deputy is scheduled to be arraigned in Newport Beach this morning for allegedly pepper spraying a teen's pizza during a routine traffic stop.

Six-year veteran of the force Juan Tavera, 30, faces a misdemeanor count of assault or battery by a public officer and up to a year in jail if convicted.

And, no, the 19-year-old victim had not complained to Tavera about having forgotten to pick up packets of crushed red pepper.

The kid was pulled over in Laguna Hills Sept. 8, 2012, by one of Tavera's colleagues with the South Operations Division, which patrols the city. Tavera is accused of rolling up as backup, finding a pizza in the backseat of the 19-year-old's vehicle and, without the victim's knowledge, pepper spraying the pie.

After the teen and four friends later became sickened while eating the pizza, he became suspicious of his earlier traffic stop encounter and contacted the sheriff's department, which forwarded the case to the Orange County District Attorney's office.

Tavera is currently on administrative leave.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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14 comments
ICregular
ICregular

I like how as I read this article I am being shown advertisements for Domino's Pizza! Pizza grandes con 3 Ingredientes !!! 

949girl
949girl topcommenter

What a dick! 

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that pretty much everything in life goes on without pizza boy's knowledge.  Maybe he would like to demonstrate to the magistrate how to unleash a LE full-size pepper spray dispenser in a small space without anybody's knowledge.  And when the courtroom is once again safe to be occupied a few days later, he can reimburse the citizens of Orange County for wasting their resources.

fc2479
fc2479 topcommenter

Ha hahha  ha ha ha.....

e_lasalle101
e_lasalle101

@JGlanton You should probably feel like an idiot right now for that crap you just spouted. Hahaha loser. 

solipsistmine
solipsistmine

@JGlantonJust a few days ago on an OC film set an off-duty OC sheriff in uniform working security for the set helped me create "tears" for a scene.  Sitting in my trailer room, he took a small canister from his belt that he said was "pepper spray," sprayed a tiny amount of it on a toothpick he'd gotten from the caterer, and then just touched the skin under each eye with the tip of the toothpick.  In seconds my eyes were red, swollen and tearing, and I looked like my best friend had just died in my arms.  We were not eneveloped in a cloud of gas, overwhelmed by fumes or choking and gasping.

Perhaps Deputy Tavera used exactly the same product.  Deputies do not typically carry riot-sized canisters on their belts, do they?

guesswho3
guesswho3

@JGlanton i guarantee there is other evidence besides just the "victim's" statements. dash cam, the original deputy who made the traffic stop could have witnessed something, his own admission to investigators. trust me they would not charge him based only on a disgruntled violator unsubstantiated statements.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

@JGlanton When an #orangecounty, CA cop wants to commit a crime you would be surprised how resourceful they can be. 

Wonder if pepper spray residue was found on the pizza or the box - or what the symptoms would be for ingesting this substance 

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

@18usc241.  Oh, I can imagine. In your comic book world, he probably froze the canister in his handy trunk tank of dry ice, depressurized it, then thawed it with his backseat microwave oven, then de-soldered the brazed seal with his pocket torch, added some pepperoni flavor to mask the vile odor, removed the trigger mechanism and replaced it with a squeeze handle from his garden sprayer, had his partner distract the kid, then leaned into the backseat and squirted the pepper juice on the pizza.  And nobody saw it, heard it, or smelled it because he is an evil genius super nemesis with the powers to blank your mind.

Or, maybe, just maybe, the kids were on drugs. 

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

I wouldn't want to even speculate about how etc. In my "comic book world" we are not allowed to ponder such depravity lest we become what we abhor. A trap many cops can't seem to avoid in the course of their career.

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

@18usc241  Allright, let's hear YOUR theory about how that pig privately peppered the punk's pizza in public.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

@JGlanton LMAO - "comic book world" is a preferable insult to "being on meds" - maybe I'm finally breaking through to you cops-do-no-wrong folk like yourself. 

If it turns out that this is exactly how it went down I will be the least surprised person in OC (sarcasm maybe). 

You get an A+ for cop apologizing effort!

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