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Public Support for Hot Dog Vendor at UC Berkeley Goes Viral

The vendor in the viral video talks to NBC Chicago about the police confrontation.

On Saturday, a campus police officer at the University of California, Berkeley, ticketed an immigrant street vendor selling hot dogs outside a Cal football game. The ticket was issued for vending without a permit. The officer, Sean Aranas, also took $60 out of the man’s wallet as evidence.

According to The Huffington Post, the vendor, who earlier was not named in full, has now been identified as Beto Matias.

Martin Flores, a Los Angeles resident and UC Berkeley alumnus, recorded the interaction near Memorial Stadium, and the video has gone viral. Many people believe the confiscation of money from the vendor went too far.

NBC Chicago reports:

Now, a GoFundMe to support the street vendor has collected over $70,000, as of Wednesday morning. A petition to fire the police officer who issued the citation has collected more than 34,000 signatures.

As the video continued to rack up views late into Monday afternoon, UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy issued a statement reiterating the school’s commitment to creating a “climate of tolerance, inclusion, and diversity.”

“While I cannot comment on the specifics of this particular case, our practice is to issue warnings before giving a citation,” Biddy said. “In a case such as this, it is typical to collect any suspected illegal funds and enter them into evidence.”

UCPD officials said that three other people were warned about vending without a permit, but the vendor in the video was the only one given a ticket.

… In an interview with NBC Bay Area’s sister station Telemundo, the street vendor said he holds down a regular job in construction. He was selling hot dogs to earn a little extra money, he said.

“People saw I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” he said of the response to the video. “I wasn’t stealing or drinking. I was just working to sustain my family.”

Below is the original video that went viral:

Click here to see an interview with the vendor and Flores.

According to the University of California Police Department, Aranas, the officer who issued the citation, will continue to work during the investigation.

Donald Kaufman
Donald Kaufman began contributing to Truthdig in 2013. He has reported from many locations, including Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and North Dakota, where he covered the confrontations over the Dakota Access…
Donald Kaufman

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