New released video shows Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy Benjamin Lee in a standoff with fellow police officers, after he pulled a gun on employees of a fast food restaurant in January.
Cop Block reports that the video was recorded by an Uber driver who was waiting to pick up his drive thru order at a Jack In the Box restaurant at the same time that Lee was there. The line was backed up, with at least a dozen cars waiting for orders. Lee was reportedly several cars ahead of the uber driver.
According to the driver, the manager of the restaurant came out to inform the drive-thru customers that the cook was “having some kind of breakdown and did not want to cook anymore.” The unidentified uber driver says he decided to leave and go to another restaurant.
The drunken police officer reportedly became enraged at the manager, saying “I want my food.” When the manager was unable to deliver, Lee pulled out a gun. He reportedly held both the restaurant manager and the drive-thru worker at gunpoint. The worker later told witnesses that he thought he was being robbed.
Someone inside the restaurant called the police. When officers arrived on the scene, Lee refused to exit his vehicle or follow commands given by police. The video shows Lee engaging in a long standoff with the officers, who are attempting to get the drunken cop to surrender.
Watch the video below, courtesy of FreeFresno on YouTube.
If this had been anyone other than a drunk, armed off-duty cop, it’s likely the person would have been shot the minute the police rolled up.
Lee was placed on ‘administrative leave’ pending an internal investigation.
In a public statement regarding the incident, Roger Winslow of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Santa Clara told KGO:
“Mr. Lee has a good reputation with the sheriff’s office. He’s a hard worker and respected by his peers.”
Members of the a newly-created community task force expressed their frustration with the way the police department polices its own.
Retired Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Captain Kevin Jensen summed it up by saying:
“This is too much. It’s overwhelming evidence that there is a cultural problem at the top, as well as many problems at the bottom.”
Image credit: video screen capture KGO-TV