Los Angeles, July 19 (IANS) A video of a female street vendor violently arrested in California has triggered anger on social media.
When a motorcycle officer arrested Juanita Mendez-Medrano, 52, she was selling flowers and Hawaiian-style leis without a permit to people attending the Perris High School graduation ceremony on the evening of June 6, Xinhua news agency reported.
The video footage of the conflict between Mendez-Medrano and the officer was later posted on Twitter, triggering uproar.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the video did not capture the officer’s efforts to convince Mendez-Medrano to remove her stall.
“During periods of traffic congestion, our officers saw numerous street vendors walking into traffic to sell products to people. Due to the obvious traffic safety concerns, our officers contacted multiple street vendors found to be vending without a permit,” said a statement.
But a witness said the vendors were not creating unsafe conditions by walking into traffic.
Authorities said that unlike other vendors, Mendez-Medrano refused to allow the officer to issue her a citation. She refused to provide her name and tried to walk away. An officer then attempted to arrest the woman.
“Why do you do this to us?” Medrano can be heard yelling in Spanish to the officer in the video. “We’re living our life.”
The cellphone video has prompted controversy on Twitter and other social medias.
“Honestly, watching this puts a hole in my chest. Instead of arresting drug dealers, gangbangers, he’s arresting a lady selling flowers,” wrote Twitter user Jent.
“I’m saddened by the brutality for the poor woman selling flowers. She should be compensated for her extremely traumatic treatment,” wrote Facebook user Felix Cortes.
Some voices, however, supported the police action.