Security guards threaten San Jose street vendor, city to hold resource fair to improve safety

Two security guards working outside an East San Jose shopping center are under investigation for allegedly threatening a street vendor and kicking over his boxes of strawberries. It was all caught on tape.

On Monday, due to a rising number of cases involving attacks on street vendors, the City of San Jose is holding an event to help those street vendors understand their rights and operate legally and safely. 

In a recording posted on social media and obtained by the office of San Jose Councilmember Peter Ortiz, viewers can hear guards asking a strawberry vendor to leave an area outside a shopping center in the 2800 block of Story Road near East Capitol Expressway. 

"You are trespassing, get off the property. Section 602 of the California penal code you are under violation," one of the security guards is heard saying on the recording. "If you don’t leave, I am going to put you under arrest. Call 911 now," the recording continues. 

At one point, one of the two guards can be seen walking over to the stacked boxes of strawberries the street vendor was selling and then kicking them over. 


2 young adults dead in crash on Hwy 280 in Los Altos Hills

A young man and a young woman were killed early Saturday morning due to a crash on southbound Interstate Highway 280 in Los Altos Hills, according to the California Highway Patrol.

"Extreme outrage at first," said Angel Madero, chief of staff to Councilmember Peter Ortiz who represents the district where the incident occurred.  "It is really disheartening to see somebody in our community, especially a hard-working vendor who is making a living for themselves, for their family, be attacked in that way. It is just really disheartening," Madero said. 

This is not the first high-profile incident involving a street vendor. In February, vendor Saul Reconco was hit in the head outside of SAP Center. And just a few days later, a man was arrested for a bat attack on vendor Carlos Sanchez near Highway 101 and old Bayshore Highway.

"I can’t really say what goes through people’s minds. But we would just hope that they would recognize that these are members of our own community. It is just incredibly sad to see that they are being victimized and targeted in this way," Angel Madero said. 

While these recent cases are unrelated, Ortiz and colleagues Omar Torres and Domingo Candelas, along with the Berryessa Flea Market Association, have now organized a resource fair to help street vendors be successful and safe. 

"They are going to focus on crime prevention, workplace rights and workers’ rights," Madero said. 

The two guards worked for a private security company, and their current employment status is not known. According to Ortiz's office, the case has already been referred by San Jose police to the District Attorney’s Office for review. 

The street vendor resource fair will be held at the San Jose City Hall rotunda on Monday from 1 to 5 p.m. Any street vendor can attend, and no pre-registration is required.