A bicycle police officer at the University of California Berkeley was videotaped taking money from a hot dog vendor’s wallet. The Los Angeles Times reports that the officer was citing the on-campus vendor for operating without a permit. The video was taken on Sept. 9 by alumnus Martin Flores, who was buying hot dogs for his children after the Golden Bears’ football game against Weber State. The video has been viewed more than 11.4 million times since it was posted to Facebook.
In the video, the police officer can be seen rummaging through the vendor’s wallet, pulling out money and folding it in his hand. The vendor stands by as the officer puts the cash away and writes a citation.
In a statement released two days later, UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy said, “We have instructed our officers to monitor illegal vending outside our event venues. This action has been motivated at least in part by issues of public health, the interests of local small businesses, and even human trafficking. In a case such as this, it is typical to collect any suspected illegal funds and enter them into evidence.”
According to UC Berkeley’s website, the investigation is ongoing and the officer remains at work. But, according to the LA Times, a petition to have the officer fired has received more than 11,000 signatures. Flores has also launched a GoFundMe for the vendor’s legal expenses and personal losses. Flores’ initial goal was to raise $10,000, but as of Tuesday afternoon, it has already reached over $55,500.