Dad Accused Of Chuck E. Cheese Salad Theft Zapped By Police
Aurora Police Say Proper Procedures Followed
UPDATED: 11:43 am EST March 2, 2005
AURORA, Colo. -- Aurora police have reviewed a weekend incident in which a man accused of stealing salad from a Chuck E. Cheese salad bar was hit with a stun gun twice by officers and said that proper procedures were followed.
The incident began at 4:05 p.m. Sunday when officers were called to the restaurant on a report of a larceny in progress.
Police talked to the Chuck E. Cheese manager, who told them that a customer had refused to show proof that he had paid for food. The manager said the man was seen "loading" his plate at the salad bar.
The officers confronted Danon Gale, 29, who was at the restaurant with his children, aged 3 and 7. Patrons said the popular kids pizza parlor was packed with children and families at the time.
According to police, Gale was asked to step outside to discuss the incident.
"According to witnesses (Gale) refused to cooperate with police and a struggle ensued," said Larry Martinez, a police spokesman. He said that Gale became argumentative and shoved one of the officers, a fact disputed by another patron.
"One of the officers kept poking the gentleman in the chest," Felicia Mayo told the Rocky Mountain News.
She was there with her 7-year-old son. She told the newspaper that Gale told the officer "You don't have to do that." She said Gale never put his hands on the officer who was confronting him
The argument escalated until Gale was shoved into the lap of Mayo's sister, who was sitting two booths away, holding a 10-month-old baby. That's when police pulled out a Taser stun gun to subdue him.
"They beat this man in front of all these kids then Tased him in my sister's lap," Mayo told the newspaper. "They had no regard for the effect this would have on the kids. This is Chuck E. Cheese, you know."
Gale's two children were "screaming and hollering and crying" as Gale was hit two times with the stun gun.
Police arrested Gale as his children and other customers watched. They took him outside, leaving his children inside the restaurant.
Gale was arrested for investigation of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and trespassing.
His two children were picked up by a relative.
The manager of the restaurant declined comment and Gale said he couldn't talk about it, after hiring an attorney.
An Aurora Police spokesman said that the sergeant on the scene wrote a report on the incident and forwarded it to his commander who determined that proper police procedures were followed relating to the use of the Taser gun .