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Off-duty Officer Arrested After Pointing Gun at Clerk for Fast Food Drive-Thru Line Taking to Long

SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — A Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy was arrested over the weekend outside a Santa Clara fast food restaurant and has been placed on leave, authorities said Tuesday.

Benjamin Lee, 33, was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of brandishing a firearm and driving under the influence at a Jack in the Box restaurant at 911 El Camino Real near Lafayette Street, Santa Clara police Lt. Kurt Clarke said.

Witnesses tell KPIX 5 that Lee — who was off duty and behind the wheel with two passengers — became irate that the drive-through line was taking so long early Sunday morning.

When Lee did reach the drive-through window, witnesses said he was angry and pointed a gun at the clerk and a manager.

Police said employeeshttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png called 911 and officers actually arrived faster than the food. Lee was still in line waiting for his order when the officers blocked his car, then arrested him and took him to jail.

Lee was placed under arrest at about 2:40 a.m., Clarke said.

Lee, who was off-duty during the incident, was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail and later released, sheriff’s Sgt. James Jensen said.

The 33-year-old has been placed on administrative leave and thehttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.pngsheriff’s office is carrying out an internal investigation into the allegations, Jensen said.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Officehttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png is awaiting a report on Lee that it will review to determine if charges will be filed against him.

The Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Santa Clara County issued a statement following Lee’s arrest, saying the group was saddened by the allegations.

While cautioning against a rush to judgment, association vice president Roger Winslow said, “DUI by anyone is unacceptable; doubly so when it involves a deputy sheriff. We are held to a higher standard and rightly so.”

The statement said that the DSA would follow the incident as it moves through the judicial systemhttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png. “We fully expect that appropriate action will be taken after all the facts are determined,” Winslow said.

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