A video showing a police officer at the University of California at Berkeley, fining a Hispanic bacon hot dog vendor and then taking away his money has become viral after this weekend and has triggered strong criticism in social networks.
The officer says he confiscated cash as evidence.
The incident happened on Saturday outside a university football game, according to Martin Flores, the man who recorded the controversial exchange between the officer and the vendor, identified only as Juan.
Flores, who studied politics at UC Berkeley, said he was buying some hot dogs at John’s place when the cop approached.
The recording shows the moment the uniformed officer fined the vendor, for selling food without the required permits, and also when he withdraws the money that the man carried in his wallet.
Despite the protests of the seller and the intervention of the buyer, the agent goes ahead and responds that it is “law and order in action”.
“That’s not right,” Flores repeatedly pointed out to the officer, but there was nothing to stop him from taking Juan’s money and defending his actions, indicating that the Spaniard did not have the permits.
After the incident, the man who attended the scene turned to social networks to express his indignation and share the video on Facebook, which has added more than 11 million views since its publication on Saturday.
The images have been shared by thousands of users and have triggered a wave of criticism against the uniformed from people who believe that what he did was unfair and means an abuse of power. Some even suggest that the police must be fired and an online campaign has been initiated demanding removal of the agent.
UC Berkeley Police 👮🏼 y'all some punk ass bitches a ticket is understandable but to take his money away fuck the police pic.twitter.com/B8j2UcvREG
— Moreno (@Moreno) September 10, 2017
For their part, officials have verified that the agent delivered the confiscated money as evidence in the case.
Martin Flores also activated a campaign, called ‘Justice4Juan ‘ (Justice for John), to raise funds for the street vendor through GoFundMe . By Monday, nearly $ 40,000 had been collected for the Hispanic trader.
“He chose this vendor who offered ‘hot dogs’ – an individual who was probably vulnerable, an easy target,” Flores said in an interview with the local ABC network.
In the meantime, the case is still under investigation and the street vendor must appear before the courts to answer for the fine.