Sheriff's Deputy Pleads Guilty to Pepper-Spraying a 19-Year-Old's Pizza

Sheriff's Deputy Pleads Guilty to Pepper Spraying Pizza

Juan Tavera, a six-year veteran of the force, pleaded guilty to pepper spraying a 19-year-old's pizza during a traffic stop.

The OC Weekly reported that the teen was pulled over in Laguna Hills, California on September 8, 2012 by one of Tavera's colleagues patrolling the city. Tavera rolled up as backup and was accused of spotting the pizza in the backseat of the kid's vehicle and pepper spraying the cheesy pie without his knowledge.


Later that evening the teen and his four friends became ill after eating the pizza and their mouths began to burn. Suspicious of what occurred during the traffic stop earlier, the victim contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department and Tavera was implicated. Although the cop initially faced up to a year in jail and was let go from the department last December, after pleading guilty on Friday, he was sentenced to 100 days of community service and probation.

While this hardly sounds like a proper sentence, the OC Weekly points out that Tavera's sentence is the harshest punishment ever given to an Orange County law enforcement official while on the job.