A video of a police officer arresting a woman selling flowers outside of a high school graduation has recently gone viral on social media. The video shows a Latina woman being wrestled to the ground as the officer tries to restrain her. The video drew strong reactions from people who believe the police officer used too much force.
Here is the video of the street vendor arrest that has gone viral all over social media.
Apparently, selling flowers is a crime?! If we don’t fight back in sheer numbers, then we will always suffer this kind of treatment.
Posted by Blacktivist on Monday, July 17, 2017
The arrest took place on June 6, 2017 outside of the graduation ceremony of Perris High School, according to The Riverside Press-Enterprise. The woman was selling flowers and Hawaiian leis while people were leaving the ceremony and stuck in traffic because of the ceremony.
The viral video and an inquiry from the Press-Enterprise reporter prompted the Riverside Sheriff’s Office to release a full statement about the incident. People have flooded the police department’s Facebook page with messages to express their outrage at the treatment of the woman, who was later identified as Juanita Mendez-Medrano.
“This municipality is poorly represented by this police department. From the looks of it you will soon abandon this page because of all the criticism you are rightfully receiving,” wrote Pablo Otavalo. “Grabbing that woman by the hair in order to throw her to the ground is a disgusting display of power afforded to your officers only by a badge they tarnish with this behavior. Every abuse of power delegitimizes your work and is an insult to the whatever good officers you may have. This officer has shamed your department and shamed your community. People should be sure to let the Mayor know @MayorMichaelVargas.”
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the Perris Police Department, released a statement yesterday about the arrest. The statement directly addresses the viral video and criticizes the video for only showing part of the altercation and not what led up to the incident. According to the statement from the police department, Mendez-Medrano was one of 15 vendors that were told to disperse because they did not have city permits to sell merchandise and were creating a safety hazard by going into the street to sell the drivers.
However, KTLA interviewed a man who was present during the incident and he disagreed with the claims by the officers. “A safety hazard… maybe if they were out in the streets, in the middle of he streets, but they were at the corner of a high school and the parking lot,” witness Jason Hernandez told KTLA. “They were not going up to cars directly.”