One UC Berkeley hot dog vendor experienced the power of internet charity this week, after a video of a cop confiscating his earnings for not having a permit went viral.
UC Berkeley alum Martin Flores shot the video, which depicted a campus police officer asking the vendor for his permit. Flores was purchasing a hot dog for himself and his young son when the police officer rode up on a bike.
As the vendor, Juan, dug through his wallet, failing to find proper identification, the cop grabbed it and began pulling out bills. Flores felt injustice brewing and began filming the incident on his phone.
He can be heard asking the policeman, Officer Sean Aranas, why he was taking Juan’s hard-earned cash.
“Yeah, well he doesn’t have a permit. He doesn’t have a permit,” Aranas is seen responding. “Yep, this is law and order in action…Thank you for your support.”
While the vendor may not have had a permit, Flores noted that if Aranas really were about “law and order,” he would’ve arrested every vendor that didn’t have a permit and busted the teens with open containers watching nearby.
“If he’s really about law and order, there’s really so many other things he could’ve stopped,” Flores said.
“I totally recognize that people have to have permits. But this wasn’t about that. This was about identifying one vendor. If you want law and order, be law and order across the board.”
But Aranas should’ve been more wary of the effect the video Flores took of him might have. Since the story has gone viral, a petition calling for Aranas’ firing has received over 20,000 signatures.
Meanwhile, the hot dog vendor is raking in far more than he ever could have selling cylindrical pieces of meat. A GoFundMe account started by Flores to cover legal expenses and personal losses for Juan has already raised more than $40,000.
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