BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) - When fans come out, so do the street food vendors.
Outside of Saturday’s UC Berkeley game, Cal alum Martin Flores captured cellphone video of a campus police officer citing a street food vendor and going through his wallet before confiscating the cash inside.
The video is being shared thousands of times on social media with angry comments over the police officer taking the vendor’s money.
“[This] visible evidence of a police officer going and taking this man’s hard earned money infuriates me,” said Cal senior Kenny Zhang, who saw the video this morning on Twitter.
UC Berkeley Police said they were cracking down on unpermitted, unregulated street food vendors. Police said only the man in the video was cited on Saturday.
Cal student Brooke Lisowski said she was at the game and bought two hot dogs from a different street vendor.
“I didn’t go to that specific guy, but there were like eight different ones all along Piedmont,” said Lisowski.
Flores said he was in the process of buying three hot dogs when the officer stopped the transaction. Flores said he started recording the officer, because he felt the vendor was being unfairly targeted, while other vendors were ignored and he said witnessed cases of drinking alcohol in public and jay walking that went without a stop from officers.
“I do think the police get a lot of hatred here at Berkeley, I feel a lot of people blow things that they do out of proportion, but yes, that film obviously looks kind of bad. He’s going through his wallet and I don’t think he has a right to do so,” said Lisowski.
UC Berkeley Police said they do have that right – if there is an arrest, or in this case a citation, officers can confiscate money. KTVU was told by police the vendor’s money was booked into evidence.
The students KTVU spoke to, however, said police should focus their efforts elsewhere.
“Actually seeing it on camera makes me so angry. Just seeing where their priorities are as opposed to campus assaults and robberies,” said Zhang.
“This is where their priorities are – arresting innocent civilians doing nothing but selling food on the streets.”
“They’ll see a guy selling a hot dog and it’s kind of their own risk if they want to buy it and eat it,” said Lisowski of her friends that know the street vendors’ food hasn’t been inspected by health inspectors.
UC Berkeley Police said the incident is under investigation.