UC police take $60 from hot dog vendor in Berkeley, fundraising nears $75,000

UC Berkeley police officer and Juan "Beto" Macias. Sept. 9, 2017. Photo: Martin Flores

A UC Berkeley police officer confiscated $60 from a hot dog vendor for selling food without a permit outside a Cal football game on Saturday, prompting a viral fundraising campaign for him that’s increased more than a thousand-fold.

As of Wednesday, nearly $75,000 was raised for Juan “Beto” Macias, on the Justice4Juan GoFundMe website.

The officer said he took the money as evidence, and UC Berkeley police said that the university was cracking down on unpermitted food being sold on campus.

In a statement released Monday, UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy said vendors typically are given warnings before a citation. Three other vendors outside the game Saturday were given warnings but not cited, police 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,” Biddy said. “In a case such as this, it is typical to collect any suspected illegal funds and enter them into evidence.”

Biddy added, however, that an investigation has been opened into the incident.
The fundraising site was started by Martin Flores, a Cal alumnus who captured also captured Matias getting cited by the police officer in a Facebook video that went viral.

Macias has declined an interview with KTVU, but Flores said that he and Juan, a “family man with two kids” have been talking most every day.

The fund states that the money will be used for legal and personal losses.