University of California at Berkeley Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy said Monday that the university is investigating a campus police officer’s ticketing of a hot dog vendor Saturday evening after a 33-20 Cal football win over Weber State.
The incident happened at about 5:32 p.m. at Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way, near Memorial Stadium.
Los Angeles resident and UC Berkeley alumnus Martin Flores made an issue of the incident by videotaping it, posting it on his Facebook account and giving media interviews.
Flores had attended Cal’s football game with his children and promised them that he would support hot dog vendors by buying food from them, he said in his post.
Flores created a GoFundMe page to help with the vendor’s “personal, legal and professional matters” with a goal of raising $10,000. By 2:00 a.m. Tuesday, people had contributed more than $42,000 to the fund.
The GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/officialjustice4juanstreetvendors.
In addition, a UC Berkeley student posted a petition online to have the officer who cited the vendor and seized $60 from his wallet removed from his job. Nearly 20,000 people had signed the petition as of this afternoon.
Biddy said in a statement that he has instructed UC police to open a complaint investigation into the incident in which an investigator will be assigned:
“… to look at both the procedural and management issues related to the incident.”
“I assure you that the well-being of our community members, including those from our marginalized communities of color, is most important to us and that we are deeply committed to building a climate of tolerance, inclusion and diversity, even as we enforce laws and policies.”
Biddy said the context of the officer’s ticketing of the hot dog vendor and the seizure of his money is that the university has instructed its officers to monitor illegal vending outside its event venues.
“This action has been motivated at least in part by issues of public health, the interests of local small businesses, and even human trafficking.”
Biddy said he can’t comment on the specifics of the incident on Saturday but said the university’s practice is to issue warnings before giving a citation.
“In a case such as this, it is typical to collect any suspected illegal funds and enter them into evidence.”
Biddy said UC Berkeley police also detained three other people for vending without a license on Saturday, all in close proximity to the football stadium.
He said each of those three people was released with a warning.
Flores said in his Facebook post that any extra funds he receives to help the vendor who was ticketed will:
“… cover other vendors who have been robbed of their hard-earned living through citations and removal of their carts.”