University of California at Berkeley Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy said Monday that the university is investigating a campus police officer's ticketing of a hot dog vendor Saturday evening after a 33-20 Cal football win over Weber State. While the vendor stood by, objecting to the officer taking his money, the officer puts the cash away and starts writing the citation. Nonetheless, the man who shot the video, Martin Flores, says he was appalled. He doesn't have a permit. He doesn't have a permit", the officer repeated "Yep, this is law and order in action.
The vendor pleads with the officer in Spanish who replies "this is how it works". In a phone interview conducted by LA Times Flores said, "If he's really about law and order there are really so many other things he could've stopped". "While the permit to sell wasn't there, I don't think taking his money is justified". But this wasn't about that.
On his Facebook page Sunday, Flores said he found the vendor named "Juan" and posed for a photo with the unidentified man, saying they would be appearing on a Spanish language news station.
More than 31,000 people have signed a petition titled "Remove S. Aranas #76 from University of California Police Department".
After the incident, Flores launched a GoFundMe account for Juan which has so far raised $51,430 and has a target of $10k.
UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof told Berkeleyside on Sunday that they're now looking into the matter. The petition expressed concern over Aranas' approach to the situation, specifically why Aranas approached the vendor and why he took money out of the vendor's wallet. He said that issues of public health and the interests of local businesses are at stake when food peddlers operate without a city permit.
Civil forfeiture allows law enforcement to seize assets from those suspected of criminal or illegal activity without neccesarily charging them.
A UC Berkeley spokesperson issued a statement to say the university is looking into the incident.
But college officials also said the officer was following instructions to crack down on illegal vendors outside of campus events.
The description reads: 'The funds raised will be utilized to cover legal and personal loses.
While the campaign's initial goal was to raise $10,000, but more than $47,000 has been collected within 24 hours of the page being created. That fund has almost $55,000 raised.