Fresno Police investigating incident involving officer at the Waffle Shop

A Fresno police sergeant told Action News the officer was shoved while trying to enter the restaurant, and body camera footage would show that.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Chief of Police Andy Hall says the officer involved in an incident at the Waffle Shop on Sunday appeared to be acting lawfully and said the person who was detained was obstructing the officer, according to a release from FPD.

FPD also released body camera footage of the incident, which can be viewed here.

RELATED: Fresno Police release body camera footage of weekend incident at Waffle Shop

Chief Hall added that he gave clear directions to officers to avoid arresting or enforcing people based on the shelter-in-place order without his approval, and said an Internal Affairs investigation into the incident is underway.

The announcement came hours after Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld held a press conference to address the incident.

Bredefeld, along with store owner Ammar Ibrahim, called for Mayor Lee Brand and the city to end Fresno's shelter-in-place order after Sunday's incident.

"Yesterday's events were tragic, completely unnecessary, and were the direct result of the tyrannical policies by Brand and the Fresno City Council," Bredefeld said.

Waffle Shop, located on N. Brawley Avenue and W. Figarden Drive, has been in the news recently for defying Fresno's 'shelter in place' order and opening last week, despite receiving a warning and a fine from the city.

RELATED: Fresno restaurant fined $1,000 for opening doors after receiving warning from city

On Sunday morning, police officers were dispatched to assist Code Enforcement Officers from the City of Fresno Attorney's Office with issuing a citation to the restaurant's owner.

In one video sent to us by a bystander, people can be seen standing in front of the entrance of the restaurant barring the way of the officers. One police officer then tries to move a man to the side to enter, and when he refuses to move, the officer handcuffs the man.

That man was 73-year-old Tom Miller, Sr.

His son, Nate Miller, captured a video of Tom and his wife being led away in handcuffs by an officer and escorted toward a police vehicle.

"It just shouldn't have happened. It shouldn't have happened this way," Nate told Action News.

Once released, Tom Sr. showed his injuries caused by the handcuffs to Nate.

"He told me to get in the car and he would loosen 'em. I get in the car, he slams the door. He didn't even think about loosening them," he said.

In a separate clip, Nate questioned the officer who detained his father and threatens to sue the officer.

Nate's voice continued in the video: "This police officer put a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran into the back of a police car for eating at the Waffle House. The officer is claiming battery."

A Fresno police sergeant told Action News the officer was shoved while trying to enter the restaurant, and body camera footage would show that. However, that footage of the incident has not yet been released yet as it is still being reviewed by the police chief.

Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall said in a statement on Sunday afternoon: "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."

The City of Fresno said the man who was put in handcuffs was detained and then released and said in a statement:
"This was an unfortunate incident and we are committed to making sure it won't happen again... 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 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."
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