Officers told Hoffman they were following up on "quite a lot of complaints" received about his El Tipico restaurant, including failure to follow social distancing guidelines, claims of being over capacity and customers not wearing masks, according to the news story.
However, Hoffman maintains that the citations had nothing to do with COVID-19 safety issues. They included one for no certificate of occupancy, another for failure to post a no-smoking sign and a third for having a locked emergency exit, according to News4.
The arrest records state that Hoffman was unwilling to cooperate, refused to listen and wouldn't sign the citations. The refusal to sign ultimately led to his arrest, the TV station reports.
"Why am I going to jail for? They said for not signing the citations and I'm like, well, if I would have known that, I would have signed them, of course. I don't want to go to jail," Hoffman recounted to News4. “They handcuffed me and I said, 'Hey, let me just sign the citations!' And the lady was like, 'It's too late now.’"
SAPD denies that Hoffman was targeted and told News4 he would have been arrested anyway due to an active Municipal Court warrant discovered after the arrest.
The restaurant owner's attorney says he's not aware of any such warrant, and that he and Hoffman plan to hold the arresting officers accountable for mistakes made regarding the arrest, according to the report.
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