BERKELEY (CBS SF) — A video showing a University of California Police officer ticketing a hot dog vendor, rifling through his wallet and confiscating his money has caused an outcry across social media.
The incident happened on Saturday outside a Cal football game.
Martin Flores said he was buying food for his children and turned on the camera when an officer stopped the vendor to ticket him for selling food without a permit.
The video shows the officer taking the vendors wallet, and the man pleading in Spanish for his “dinero.”
Flores can be heard off-camera saying, “That’s not right … you’re going to take his hard-earned money?”
“Yep, this is law and order in action,” replies the officer, identified as UC Police Officer Sean Aranas.
Since posting the video, Flores has started a GoFundMe account for the vendor and others like him.
According to the Justice4Juan fundraiser page, “The funds raised will be utilized to cover legal and personal loses. In addition, funds in excess are to cover other vendors who have been robbed of their hard earned living through citations and removal of their carts.”
As of 5:30 p.m. Monday, the GoFundMe page had raised more than $42,000, well beyond the goal of $10,000.
UC’s police department defended the Officer Aranas’ actions, saying he took $60 from the vendor as evidence.
A UC Berkeley student has started an online petition to have Aranas removed from his job.
Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy said the university was reviewing the incident and Officer Aranas remains at work.
In a statement, Biddy said, “We have instructed our officers to monitor illegal vending outside our event venues. This action has been motivated at least in part by issues of public health, the interests of local small businesses, and even human trafficking. In addition, while I cannot comment on the specifics of this particular case, our practice is to issue warnings before giving a citation. In a case such as this, it is typical to collect any suspected illegal funds and enter them into evidence.”
Biddy also said three other people were cited that day for vending without a license near the stadium, and that enforcement action against non-permitted vending and ticket scalpers are in response to requests from the community.