Fresno Police launch investigation after cell phone video shows officer detaining man outside Waffle Shop

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Waffle Shop has been open since Thursday and has now been fined twice for allowing dine-in service

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — The Fresno Police Department is investigating an incident that occurred Sunday at a northwest Fresno restaurant that has been open in defiance of the city’s emergency order.

Officers were dispatched to the Waffle House at 4025 W. Figarden Dr. around 8:40 a.m. to assist code enforcement officers with issuing a citation to the business owner for violating Fresno’s emergency order as it relates to illegal operation of a restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lt. Jeff La Blue said.

Police said the man was handcuffed after pushing an officer, then detained and released.

Chief Andrew Hall said he had been briefed on the incident and reviewed video taken by a bystander.

Hall released the following statement:

As the Chief of Police, I am concerned over the manner in which this
incident was handled as it doesn’t appear to be consistent with our
Department’s policy concerning demonstrations or the directions I
have given officers via a Chief’s memorandum for handling
enforcement of the Emergency Order. I immediately ordered an
Internal Affairs investigation of the incident. I would ask for the
public’s patience in this matter while the investigation is conducted.

Fresno Police Chief Andrew Hall

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand called it an unfortunate incident and said the city is committed to make sure it won’t happen again.

Brand released the following statement:

This was an unfortunate incident and we are committed to making sure it won’t happen again. I want everyone to know that I fully understand the financial hardship of every small business in Fresno and we are doing everything we can to help them, including a plan to safely restart our local economy.  In the meantime, I cannot stress enough to the people of Fresno that following these temporary rules like social distancing and wearing masks are absolutely the best way to get back to normal. Let’s all take a deep breath and then commit to work together to bring our local and state partners in line with our plans to get our people back to work.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand

This story will be updated.

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