A vendor whose only apparent crime was selling hotdogs near Memorial Stadium was ticketed by a Berkley police officer and his money confiscated as "evidence" may have gotten the surprise of a lifetime after a viral video made its rounds on social media resulting in over $54,000 being raised for the vendor.
The video, which was place on Streamable, has a description that reads, "Police officer uses 'civil forfeiture' to take all of the money out of a hot dog vendor's wallet."
Martin Flores, who wrote on social media that he had attended the game with his children, captured footage of UC police officer Sean Aranas approaching the vendor and writing him a citation for selling food without a proper permit, a violation of Berkeley’s municipal code.
Aranas then went into the man’s wallet and took money from it. The video was originally posted to Flores’ Facebook, and it was re-posted by other accounts on Twitter. As of Monday morning, one re-post garnered more than 90,000 likes and 82,000 retweets.
"You’re going to take his money? That’s not right," Flores can be heard saying in the video.
"We’re going to take it to the judge, and the judge can decide if it’s right," Aranas said. "This is law and order in action."
Notice the cop thinks he is "protecting" the public. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Were there reports of food poisoning? Was someone ripped off in buying their hot dogs from this man?
He simply didn't have Berkley's approval to sell food.
He didn't buy their permit, which amounts to no liability for Berkley and the public is just as much at risk as if he did purchase it.
City, county and state permits are a joke as not one of those entities becomes liable for anything they sell a permit for. They simply retain the money to keep control over the people.
In an interview with NBC, the vendor, who refers to himself only as "Beto," said, "I wasn't stealing or drinking. I was just working to sustain my family."
A GoFundMe page was set up to help support the vendor, which has taken in more than $54,000 as of Tuesday morning.
That's not all.
The police officer in the video may fall under the scrutiny of those he answers to very soon as a petition has been started to have him removed from his job. That petition has garnered more than 28,000 signatures.
"While I cannot comment on the specifics of this particular case, our practice is to issue warnings before giving a citation," UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy said. "In a case such as this, it is typical to collect any suspected illegal funds and enter them into evidence."
Funds are not evidence. In this case, it's extortion. If they wanted evidence, why didn't they seize his hotdog cart too?
Seriously, there is no crime here.
Asset forfeiture is unconstitutional and illegal no matter how much these little tyrants claim other wise.