In surveillance video, the man, Jose Arreola, asked the clerk how much a pack of Mentos costs and then proceeded to pay $1.19 for the item.
As he waited for his change back, the off-duty officer entered the convenience store and stood behind Arreola in line. At this point, Arreola put the Mentos he paid for in his coat pocket.
Right after that, the officer said, "Hey, give that back. I'm a police officer."
Arreola appeared taken aback and turned around to face the off-duty officer, who wore black shorts and a black hoodie. The officer then repeated himself and reached into his pocket and pulled out his gun, pointing it at Arreola.
Arreola then told the officer repeatedly that he paid for the Mentos, but the officer continued pointing the gun at him. At one point he told Arreola, "Try stealing that again. Get your cash and leave."
Arreola then put the Mentos down, collected his change and moved away from the register. The officer stepped forward and asked the clerk twice if Arreola did purchase the mints, which the clerk confirmed twice.
The off-duty officer then apologized to Arreola and let him grab the mints to leave.
Arreola said the apology wasn't enough, especially since he cannot stop replaying the encounter, which happened on March 16.
"It made me mad. At the same time, it scared me because I thought he could shoot me," he said.
He added that he worried about his wife, who was waiting outside in their car, as he wondered if he would be shot.
Arreola said he has a lot of respect for law enforcement, but having an officer pull a gun on him and wrongly accuse him of stealing is taking it too far.
Arreola, who spoke with the OC Register, said he has retained an attorney and is seeking damages from the department over the incident.
The Buena Park Police Department released a statement regarding the incident:
"There is an internal investigation being conducted into the incident. Because of this investigation, and the possibility of legal action, we will not be commenting on the incident or the investigation at this time," it said.