A Twitter video of a college police officer seizing a street vendor’s personal money may have stirred online controversy, but it has also spurred a community to action.

A hot dog vendor who has asked to only be identified as “Beto” was managing a food cart near the Memorial Stadium for the first home football game of the season on the University of California Berkeley campus when he was approached by a police officer.

Upon discovering that Beto did not have a permit to sell food, the officer wrote him a citation and took all the money out of his wallet as evidence.

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Martin Flores, who had been attending the game with his family when he went to go buy some hot dogs, began to film the exchange in protest.

Flores can be heard in the video saying: “You’re gonna take his money away? That’s not right. People can drink on campus for football games and no ticket, but a hard-working man selling hot dogs and earning a living gets his money taken away?”

Beto later told sources that he has a job in construction during the day, but he wanted to sell hot dogs on Saturday as a means of making a little extra money. In total, the officer seized $60 from his wallet.

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UC Berkeley officers are responsible for investigating illegal street vending, but representatives say that they are instructed to issue a warning before a citation. Three other street vendors were allegedly detained earlier that day, but they had only been given warnings.

After the video of the police officer went viral, however, Flores created a GoFundMe campaign that has already raised over $68,000 for Beto.

An investigation of the incident is currently underway.

“I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received,” Beto told NBC News. “I was simply working to support my family … I’m very thankful, now that I see everyone supporting me.”

(WATCH the video below)

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  1. I have a hard time thinking of “f*** the police” as an appropriate part of good news.
    It’s inflammatory, derogatory, and an irrational emotional response to a story to which we obviously don’t have all the details yet. In my To me personally, it does SEEM like the officer could have and should have shown more mercy and understanding and given Beto a warning. even though the officer may have been operating within his legal rights in seizing the money. I do think it is wise – when in doubt – to err on the side of mercy rather than judgement.

    On the other hand, it is a police officers job to enforce the laws. Period.
    There is a certain amount of personal discretion and leeway involved in that.
    Unless we were in his shoes in that situation, it is arrogant to assume that we are so superior
    in judgement as to be right to bring down curses on his head.

    There are many officers who are self-sacrificing and scrupulously honest.
    There are some who err on the “protect” side, vs. the “serve” side.
    And undoubtedly there are a few who believe they are above the law.

    To “Moreno”, imagine if someone prejudicially reacted to this story by cursing hispanic
    people, or construction workers, or hot dog vendors . . . assuming that they were all illegal
    operators and dishonest people. That would be a bigoted, unkind, and unreasonable assumption,
    wouldn’t it? Please put yourself in another person’s shoes before trying to hurt them, whether with words
    or actions.

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