Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release, Case # 13HM05257: August 2, 2013
NEWPORT BEACH – An Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputy will be arraigned Monday for pepper spraying a teen’s pizza during a routine traffic stop. Juan Tavera, 30, is charged with one misdemeanor count of assault or battery by a public officer and faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail if convicted. Tavera is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-8, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.
At the time of the crime, Tavera was a 6-year veteran of the OCSD assigned to the South Operations Division/Contract City of Laguna Hills. Tavera is currently on paid administrative leave.
On Sept. 8, 2012, the defendant is accused of arriving on-scene after 19-year-old John Doe was pulled over by a different officer for a traffic infraction in Laguna Hills. Upon arriving, the defendant is accused of finding a pizza on the backseat of the victim’s car and pepper spraying the pizza without the victim’s knowledge.
John Doe later returned to his home and shared the pizza with four friends, causing all five to experience discomfort as a result of ingesting pepper spray. John Doe notified OCSD after becoming suspicious of his earlier interaction with the deputy.
OCSD immediately investigated this case and forwarded it to the Orange County District Attorney for review.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Brett Brian of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney 401 Civic Center Drive West Santa Ana, CA 92701
Susan Kang Schroeder Chief of Staff Office: 714-347-8408 Cell: 714-292-2718
Farrah Emami Spokesperson Office: 714-347-8405 Cell: 714-323-4486