What a University of California police officer in Berkeley took from a hot dog vendor this weekend, the internet has raised more than 1,000 times over — to give to the man and “other vendors who have been robbed of their hard earned living through citations and removal of their carts,” according to a crowdfunding campaign.
“Yep, this is law and order in action,” the officer says on video after taking $60 from the man’s wallet.
The university said Monday it had launched an investigation into the actions of the UC Berkeley officer who confiscated the money from an unlicensed hot dog vendor outside a Cal football game on Saturday. The episode was captured on video that quickly found a wide audience online — and made many people emotional.
Thousands of people shared it online over the weekend, many expressing outrage over what they considered a horrible form of harassment. Some people wondered why it was necessary to confiscate the man’s money, especially when it was unclear whether it was from the hot dog sales.
The officer remains on the job, police said, and The Mercury News reported that police often crack down on illegal vendors outside university events and that confiscating belongings and cash as evidence is standard practice.
But the response to the video has prompted a complaint investigation, the university said.
By Tuesday afternoon, more than 35,000 people had signed an online petition demanding the officer be removed from the force. The man who recorded the incident, Martin Flores, on Sunday launched a crowdfunding campaign that had raised more than $60,000.
“The funds raised will be utilized to cover legal and personal losses,” Flores wrote on the GoFundMe page. “In addition, funds in excess are to cover other vendors who have been robbed of their hard earned living through citations and removal of their carts.”
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