Alameda Co. Sheriff's Department defends dismantling fruit stand

A photo on a Facebook page has touched off protests and anger at the Alameda County Sheriff's Department.

The photo shows the arrest of a man who was selling fruit on a sidewalk without a proper permit. The image has caused indignation in Alameda County and far beyond.

The photo, posted on the Alameda County Sheriff's Department Facebook page, has more than one million views and 10,000 comments.

The photo shows an Alameda County Sheriff's deputy shutting down a fruit stand in San Lorenzo. The photo shows the owner in handcuffs, arrested for resisting arrest.

They say Pedro Marteen Aguillar had no permit to sell food, is on federal probation and tried to run from deputies. "He resisted our officer and escalated the situation."

It happened in a residential neighborhood at the corner of Delano and Kent. A neighbor had called to complain about the fruit stand.

The sheriff's department came to check it out. One neighbor says he saw the tail end of the arrest.

"He was on the floor. He looked clueless. I don't think he spoke English," said Alonzo Martinez of San Lorenzo.

The arrest has sparked anger. A small group of immigration rights protesters demonstrated in front of the sheriff's headquarters in Oakland.

They accused the sheriff 's department of targeting Latinos.

Protester Jon Rodney said, "We don't see the sheriff's department going off to a lemonade stand, nor should they. This raises questions about profiling.”

It is unclear if Aguillar is undocumented. Protesters fear if he is, he could face deportation over a fruit stand.

The sheriff's department says it has no plans to turn over the fruit vendor to immigration authorities.

"We will not be contacting ICE in regards to telling them to deport. That is not our business," said Sgt. Ray Kelly, Alameda Co. Sheriff's Department Spokesman.

But the question remains how much this incident will continue to rattle a community already anxious about growing immigration enforcement nationwide.


 

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