Video has emerged of University of California-Berkeley police officer Sean Aranas taking money from a hot dog vendor’s wallet because he was operating without a permit.
The footage, posted to Twitter by Martin Flores, showed Officer Sean Aranas removing the money from the vendor’s wallet and folding it. The vendor, identified only as Juan, also received a citation.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Flores was buying a hot dog from the vendor cart for his kids after a football game when the officers approached. Aranas then allegedly asked for Juan’s identification. Officer Aranas then removed Juan’s wallet from his hand and took his money out. Police said that the vendor’s money was seized as “evidence”.
via Berkeley Side:
Los Angeles resident, and UC Berkeley alumnus, Martin Flores posted the video online just before 5:40 p.m. Saturday. He attended the football game that day with his children, according to his posts online. In the video, Flores questions University of California Police Officer Sean Aranas about why he has to take the hot dog vendor’s money. Flores was buying hot dogs from the vendor when police interrupted the transaction, he wrote.
The original video had, as of Monday morning, been viewed 11 million times — and attracted significant attention and comments online. Flores sought out the vendor, who has publicly been identified only as “Juan,” as interest in the story grew along with pledges of support. Flores posted on Facebook shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday that he had found “Juan,” and said they were preparing to be interviewed by Telemundo in San Francisco.
According to online records from UCPD, the vendor was ticketed at Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way, across from Memorial Stadium where the football game took place, just after 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The 34-year-old man got a ticket related to vending without a license, which is a violation of the Berkeley Municipal Code. It was the only such citation for the day, which was the first home game of the season. UCPD spokeswoman Sgt. Sabrina Reich said Monday that the $60 was “seized as suspected proceeds of the violation and booked into evidence.” Reich said three other people were detained on suspicion of vending without a license, but they were released with a warning.
While Aranas, was acting on orders from a supervisor to issue a citation, it’s unclear whether that order included seizing the cash.
UC Berkely police tweeted that they were aware of the incident and were investigating:
A GoFundMe created for Juan the hot dog vendor shattered its goal of $10,000, raising over $50,000 in less than two days. The money raised will go to cover Juan’s legal expenses and personal losses.