A UC Berkeley campus police officer who took money out of a hot dog vendorâ€™s wallet after learning that the vendor did not have a permit to sell has become the subject of a controversial viral video after the sad encounter was recorded by a Berkeley alumnus and uploaded to social media.
Martin Flores can be heard arguing with University of California Police Officer Sean Aranas as he lifts a wad of cash out of the hot dog vendorâ€™s wallet.
â€śThatâ€™s not right, man,â€ť Flores says, to which Aranas coolly responds: â€śThatâ€™s how it works.â€ť
Meanwhile, the hot dog vendor can be heard asking in Spanish, â€śWhy is he taking away my money?â€ť and pleading with the cameraman to help translate.
â€śWeâ€™ll take it to a judge and a judge can decide if itâ€™s right,â€ť Aranas continues. Flores expresses outrage that a â€śhard-working manâ€ť gets his money taken away for selling hot dogs without a permit while students are allowed to openly drink on campus, but Aranas maintains that since he doesnâ€™t have a permit, his earnings are forfeit.
â€śHe must have voted for Trump!â€ť an onlooker can be heard shouting from out of view.
Aranas confiscated $60 from â€śsuspected proceeds of the violation and booked into evidence,â€ť Sgt. Sabrina Reich told KTVU. When pressed as to why a UC officer had the authority to issue a citation to a hot dog vendor who was not on campus property, Reich could not explain.
Flores uploaded the video to Facebook, where it was shared thousands of times and attracted a multitude of angry comments. He claims he was about to buy hot dogs when the police showed up and started issuing a citation, so he began filming to highlight the perceived injustice.
Supporters of the copâ€™s actions noted that a food vendor permit costs $240 and requires a hefty amount of paperwork to be filed, and that those who skirt the law to increase their margins should be shut down.
A GoFundMe page called â€śOfficialJustice4Juan&StreetVendorsâ€ť sprang up over the weekend, created by Flores, and has been shared over 23,000 times. So far, upwards of $36,000 has been raised â€śto cover legal and personal loses [sic].â€ť