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Aggrieved Berkeley Hot Dog Vendor Gets $87,000 for Legal Fees, Future Food Truck

Outrage over a viral video leads to financial windfall

via gofundme

A Berkeley hot dog vendor was presented with an $87,000 check this weekend after outrage-inducing video led to an outpouring of financial support. Earlier this month, viral footage showed a UC Berkeley campus police officer citing the vendor, Juan "Beto" Macias, for operating without a permit and seizing money from his wallet.

Martin Flores, a Cal alumnus, was purchasing a hot dog from Macias when he was cited, capturing the video. Flores tracked down Macias, who lives in San Jose, and started a fundraiser for him with the modest goal of repaying his losses and providing for any legal expenses he might incur.

But with a windfall of donations, Macias has enough money to invest in a food truck as well as pay off family expenses. He was presented with a check this weekend in front of the UC Berkeley Center for Latino Policy Research, as he and his family cooked bacon-wrapped hot dogs for a crowd.

2 Weeks later The community of UC Berkeley Center for Latino Policy Research Opens the door for the community to support Beto and his family. This is what community love looks like. Beto and his wife Dulce!

Posted by Martin Flores on Saturday, September 23, 2017

“I felt like a criminal,” Macias told Berkeley student paper The Daily Californian through a translator. “The little money that I made for my family, he took it away from me and made me feel like a criminal.”

Macias says he was unaware why the money was taken from him, and received no record as to how much was taken. Estimates put it at $60.

UC Berkeley police say the money was taken as evidence of “suspected proceeds.” A campus representative says that university police give citations, typically after warnings, to unpermitted vendors out of health and safety concerns. An investigation into the conduct of this specific incident has been opened, however.