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No charges after O.C. supervisor handcuffed man who was 'preaching the word of God'

No charges after O.C. supervisor handcuffed man who was 'preaching the word of God'
Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer handcuffed a man who was "preaching" to him at a Foothill Ranch restaurant earlier this year after the man began acting suspicious. (Los Angeles Times)

Unnerved by a man who was "preaching the word of God" and suspiciously eying a knife, Orange County Board of Supervisors Chair Todd Spitzer apparently handcuffed a man at a Foothills Ranch restaurant earlier this year, sheriff's officials said Thursday.

During a lunch break gone bizarre, Spitzer became bothered when the man would not stop talking to him about the Bible inside a Wahoo's Fish Taco on April 3, according to Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock.

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After several minutes, Spitzer left the restaurant and retrieved a gun and handcuffs from his car before calling police, Hallock said.

"A stranger walked up to me and wouldn't get out of my face and I asked him to leave me alone and he's in a restaurant and he's like harassing me," Spitzer told the dispatcher, according to a 911 recording obtained by KCBS. "He needs to be talked to. I don't know if he's on drugs or what but … I'm fearing for my safety."

Spitzer is a former district attorney and reserve Los Angeles police officer, and Hallock said he has a concealed-carry permit.

Spitzer said the man kept glancing at a knife on a nearby table, and told police that he felt the man could become dangerous, according to Hallock. Spitzer then asked the man if he would agree to be handcuffed.

The man consented, on the condition that Spitzer continue to listen to his sermon, Hallock said.

Once the man was detained, Spitzer placed a second call to the Sheriff's Department.

"I made a 911 call about 7 minutes ago.… I have this man now under arrest. He's handcuffed," Spitzer said, before instructing the dispatcher to "let the officers know I am armed, OK?"

Spitzer did not aim his weapon at the man at any point during the altercation, according to Hallock.

Calls and text messages sent to Spitzer were not immediately returned. It was not clear why the Sheriff's Department released the information on Thursday.

Neither the supervisor, nor the man who was preaching to him, will face criminal charges.

"Based on the totality of the circumstances, we made a determination that no crime had been committed," Hallock said.

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