Arraignment Delayed for Cop Accused of Assault for Pepper-Spraying Pizza

A deputy accused of pepper-spraying a pizza during a traffic stop could face up to 1 year in jail

An Orange County Sheriff’s deputy facing assault charges for allegedly secretly tainting a teenager's pizza with pepper spray during a traffic stop got a nearly three-week reprieve on Monday when his arraignment was delayed.

Juan Tavera, 30, a six-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, is accused of pepper-spraying a 19-year-old man’s pizza without his knowledge after pulling him over in September of 2012 in Laguna Hills, according to a statement issued by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Tavera is charged with one misdemeanor count of assault and faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail if convicted, according to the statement.

Tavera, who is currently on paid administrative leave, is now scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 23, according to David Allen, spokesman for the Harbor Justice Center. He was originally scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

After the traffic stop, the victim went home and shared the pizza with four friends. All five who consumed the pie experienced "discomfort," according to the statement. The 19-year-old contacted the sheriff’s department after connecting the ill feeling with his interaction with Tavera, authorities said.

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