Hot dog vendor whose cash was taken by UC Berkeley cop speaks out

BERKELEY, Calif. -- There are new developments Monday after an interaction between a U.C. Berkeley police officer and a hot dog vendor at Saturday's Cal game.

Cellphone video shows that officer taking cash out of the vendor's wallet in the process of giving him a citation for not having a proper permit.

The vendor who had his cash taken by a U.C. Berkeley police officer says he didn't know what to think at the time, but tried his best to just obey the officer's orders.

RELATED: Video showing U.C. Berkeley cop confiscating un-permitted hot dog vendor's cash goes viral

"Well, at that moment I was in a state of shock because of what was happening to me...I don't know how to explain it. I was in a state of shock when I saw he was taking my money," Beto Matias said.

ABC7 News has learned the officer shown on the video, Sean Aranas, was acting on orders from a supervisor to issue a citation. It's not clear if that order included seizing the cash.

We spoke off-camera with officer Aranas, who urged people to consider the full context of his interaction and emphasized the cash was taken only as evidence in support of the citation.

Nonetheless, the man who shot the video, Martin Flores, says he was appalled.

"He chose this one vendor who was selling hot dogs, an individual who was probably vulnerable, an easy target," Flores said.

Flores was so upset he even started a GoFundMe page for Matias.

With an initial goal of $10,000, the total is now approaching $40,000.

U.C. Berkeley students are also getting involved, including starting a petition to have officer Aranas fired from the police department.

"The citation was enough," ASUC President Aaynab Abdul Qadir-Morris said.

Click here to help support Juan on the GoFundMe page.
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