Campus & community, Campus news

Campus statement on food vendor incident

By Public Affairs

In response to an incident that involved a UCPD officer ticketing a hot dog vendor outside a Cal football game on Saturday, Sept. 9, UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy released this statement today:

As we review the incident from Saturday, Sept. 9, involving a food vendor on our campus, I wanted to share how we as a campus are proceeding. However, before doing so, I assure you that the well-being of our community members, including those from our marginalized communities of color, is most important to us, and that we are deeply committed to building a climate of tolerance, inclusion and diversity, even as we enforce laws and policies.

Now, let me share some context: 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 addition, while I cannot comment on the specifics of this particular case, our practice is to issue warnings before giving a citation. In a case such as this, it is typical to collect any suspected illegal funds and enter them into evidence.

I have instructed University of California Police Department (UCPD) to open a complaint investigation. We will assign an investigator to look at both the procedural and management issues related to the incident. Please be assured that the investigation will be completed in a timely manner. Lastly, we are committed to continuing to engage the campus community in order to realize better ways to serve it.

Following is an FAQ regarding the incident:

Is UC Berkeley police department investigating the incident?

The incident is under investigation, and the officer remains at work.

What is the campus’s response?

Please see Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy’s statement above.

Where and when on campus did this happen?

The incident occurred on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, at 5:32 p.m., at Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way adjacent to Memorial Stadium.

Was any money/food/equipment confiscated?

$60 was seized as evidence of the suspected proceeds of the violation and booked into evidence. There were no other items taken as evidence.

Was this in fact a civil/asset forfeiture type of situation? How common is that approach with un-permitted vendors in general?

In general, when an officer issues a citation, makes an arrest or investigates a crime, the officer may seize items as evidence of the proceeds of the crime or violation in question.

How many other vendors were cited that day for the same reasons, and how many other people’s cash was seized?

UCPD detained three other individuals for vending without a license that same day, two at Rim Way/Gayley Road and one at Memorial Stadium Gate 4 — all in close proximity to the football game. Each of these three individuals was released with a warning.

Do you have any information on how often UCPD deals with non-permitted vendors?

It is routine that our officers are asked to focus on illegal ticket scalping and non-permitted vending that occur during major campus events. These enforcement efforts are in response to requests from our community.

What’s the typical penalty? Do you know what the penalty was in this case? Bail amounts are set by the court, so you would need to check with the Alameda County courthouse to determine the fine for this type of violation.

Why did police contact this vendor? Did someone complain? If so, what was the complaint?

The officer cited the individual for Berkeley Municipal Code 9.48.030: Vending without a license.

If this occurred on City of Berkeley property, why is a UC officer issuing the ticket?

UCPD officers patrol on campus properties and a mile in all directions from campus properties, per Education Code 92600 and Penal Code 830.2. As such, we do enforce local, state and federal laws within the City of Berkeley. The intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way, where this incident occurred, is adjacent to Memorial Stadium and several other campus properties.