SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A woman who appeared to be taking issue with a street vendor in San Francisco has found herself starring in the latest viral video of people calling authorities to report the activity of a person of color.
The video, posted Wednesday on Facebook by a man identifying himself as a San Francisco resident, shows a woman on the phone next to a street vendor who appears to be an older Hispanic woman selling a variety of wares, including children’s clothing, jewelry and other trinkets.
The location is Market St. and New Montgomery St., just next to the BART/Muni Metro escalator.
As the woman on the phone sees she is being recorded, she waves to the camera and the person recording says, “We got another Permit Betty here, everybody. Let’s get her viral also.” The vendor is seen beginning to pack up her items.
The woman responds, “Sorry guys, they have to have the permits,” and that people “have to be able to walk on the sidewalk.”
The man taking the video continues to berate the woman on the phone, saying, “She’s gotta mess with people that’s just trying to make a living.”
After some back-and-forth between the two, the man behind the camera says, “Let’s figure out what company she’s with.” At that point, the woman on the phone quickly walks away.
The video has more than 600,000 views as of Friday afternoon. Many of the commenters posted screenshots of who they believe is the woman’s identity, along with her workplace.
Angry commenters have posted on the Facebook page of Streetplus, a firm which provides cleaning services for cities’ business districts, about the woman whose Facebook page lists Streetplus as her employer. The link to public reviews has since been removed from the page.
The Yerba Buena Community Benefit District acknowledged the woman was a “service provider” with the district but not a direct employee. “On Wednesday, an employee of a service provider misrepresented the YBCBD. That individual no longer works on behalf of the district. This individual was not a direct employee of YBCBD. However, we take responsibility for anyone who works on our behalf.”
The woman joins a growing list of widely-publicized incidents of white people confronting or calling the police on people of color who weren’t breaking the law, including a barbecue in an Oakland park (“Barbecue Becky”), a woman confronting and apparently striking a black teen at a community pool in South Carolina (“Pool Patrol Paula”), and two men .near AT&T Park in San Francisco, a group holding a
San Francisco does require street vendors to have a permit. It was not clear from the video whether or not the vendor had a permit or who the other woman was calling.