On July 17, Benjamin Ramirez, an elote street vendor in Los Angeles, was threatened and had his food cart damaged by a man later identified as Carlos A. Hakas. Ramirez told Fox 11 Los Angeles that he filmed the entire altercation on his phone because he was previously harassed by Hakas.
In their latest confrontation, Ramirez, 24, told Fox 11 that Hakas was behaving more aggressively, had a dog, and was holding something in his hand.
In Ramirez’s video that was posted yesterday — it has since gone viral — you can hear the Hakas telling Ramirez in Spanish to move his cart. Ramirez says to him, “you have a walkway, I am not moving.”
Los Angeles!Look at these scumbags!We live in a diverse city, we dont need shitty people like this!If you have info regarding the vendor, please message us, there are Organizations and media that want to help out!This is from a very trusted and respected organizer in Los Angeles, Ron Gochez, he and many are ready to help out this vendor:If anyone would like to help out, my friend Azusena Favela has started up a gofudme account to help out street vendors who have their stuff taken away by the cops or for people like the guy in the video. She's trustworthy so I know the money is going to the vendors. Please consider making a small donation. Thanks! https://www.gofundme.com/equipment-for-la-street-vendors
Posted by March And Rally Los Angeles on Monday, July 24, 2017
Credit: March And Rally Los Angeles / Facebook
The man continues to threaten Ramirez, and when he refuses to move his cart, the man pushes it over.
The woman in the video tells Ramirez to “stay the fuck away,” however, throughout the entire video, Ramirez is never near them. He firmly stands his ground and says he is not leaving from that street corner. After Hakas throws the cart down, Ramirez throws chile onto Hakas’ face. When Ramirez calls Hakas a racist, Hakas replies, “I’m not racist, I’m from Argentina.”
“Even after he threw my cart on the ground, he came after me, like he wanted me to attack him,” Ramirez told Fox 11 News.
People on social media were able to ID the assailant. He is from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
As soon as the video went live on Facebook, people on social media searched to identify the attacker. Fans of cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, who posted the video of Ramirez getting threatened, flooded his thread and posted several of Hakas social media accounts, from LinkedIn to Instagram. Those accounts have since been deactivated. They also ID’d the woman in the video, Hakas partner as Holly Covella.
Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz posted this cartoon about this fateful encounter.
— Mexican Judge (@laloalcaraz) July 25, 2017
Journalist Aura Bogado posted a heartbreaking interview with Ramirez’s father, Alex.
Posted by Aura Bogado on Monday, July 24, 2017
Credit: Aura Bogado / Facebook
Alex told Bogado that he felt bad about what happened, especially when he saw his son’s food all over the street. He also said that they had to throw everything away. The only thing that remains is the cart itself, and that is severely damaged as well.
According to Bogado, Ramirez has been a street vendor since 2000 and nothing like this has ever happened to him.
These kids from the neighborhood love Alex and his son. They're sad about what happened and want to support the both of them. pic.twitter.com/7E2adhdQox
— Aura Bogado (@aurabogado) July 25, 2017
He also added that his son had only been on that street corner (Romaine Street in Hollywood, Calif.) for a couple of weeks.
In the video, Alex told Bogado that the police were called but that they didn’t arrest Hakas because he spoke English and said that Ramirez was at fault.
According to NBC News, Hakas and Ramirez are expected to appear at a court date later this week. The police told NBC News that this is a civil case and that if Hakas fails to appear in court, they will issue a warrant for his arrest.
“I just want justice,” Ramirez told Fox 11 News. “I just want him to pay for the loss of my products when he came to attack me.”
Supporters of Ramirez have set up a GoFundme fundraiser to help him restore his food cart.
Casey Horan, donated $10, and wrote: “My heart is absolutely shattered at the hatefulness of that evil man. Sending all my love and positivity to you Benjamin <3.” Anna Armendariz, contributed $20, wrote: “So sad about this new wave of hatred and racism that awoke after last years election. The worst part is that it was from one of our own Latino members.”
Update: AFM Local 47, a musicians’ union that counts Hakas as one of its members, released this statement about the incident:
“AFM Local 47 has been made aware of a recent incident involving one of our employees. This is now a police matter and we cannot comment on the ongoing investigation, nor can we comment on personnel matters.
As a labor union we believe in immigrant and workers’ rights and stand for dignity and respect for all workers in our community.”
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