Onlookers expressed dismay and outrage this weekend when a University of California Police officer citing a food vendor rifled through his wallet and took his earnings. Cal alumnus Martin Flores filmed the interaction between the officer and the vendor, whose first name is Juan; he has since raised more than $30,000 for Juan’s cause on a gofundme page. The University is reportedly scrutinizing the incident, but has yet to return Eater’s request for comment.
Flores, who was attending a football game at the college with his family, was buying a hot dog from the vendor on Saturday when the officer interrupted the sale and took the vendor’s cash. The vendor, according to the officer, was operating without a permit to sell food. The incident has inspired discussion of Civil forfeiture laws, which allow officers to seize assets from suspected criminals, a tactic the ACLU considers to be widely abused.
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
Proceeds from the gofundme page will go to Juan’s “personal, legal and professional matters,” Flores writes. “Funds in excess are to cover other vendors who have been robbed of their hard earned living through citations and removal of their carts.”
Meanwhile, Berkeley campus police are presumably on edge as they prepare for a series of far-right speakers, invited to the college this week by a republican student group. Last year, appearances by similar speakers incited violence and property destruction on campus.