Street Vendor Advocates Are Being Held Without Bail in California
A San Bernardino County judge ruled Monday to hold Edin Alex Enamorado, a popular advocate of street vendors and other marginalized groups, without bail along with seven others facing multiple charges.
Enamorado documents attacks on street vendors on TikTok and Instagram in his hometown of Upland, California. His videos, which have earned him hundreds of thousands of followers, have also called out elected officials for racist comments and shared news of police arrests.
The arrests come after an investigation, which the Victor Police Department says started in September after an alleged assault during a protest. According to their press release, it turned into a “multi-agency investigation” with other police departments in the area when they found out the suspects were also allegedly responsible for other attacks.
Enamorado had amassed hundreds of thousands of followers for his support of street vendors
The videos often show the moment someone is harassing a street vendor. In June, one of his TikToks led to the firing of a SoFi Stadium employee who reportedly flipped over food carts outside the stadium.
A 12-year-old girl was watching one of the carts while her mother stepped away. The video shows the aftermath with dozens of hot dogs, buns, and other foods tossed on the ground. It’s no longer available on his original account, but there are still duets up that show the video.
He’s also called out Instagram for banning his account along with other activist pages.
In a press conference, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said the suspects allegedly edited the videos. “This group is not about substance for the human condition,” Dicus said “but rather clickbait for cash.”
The group of eight have pleaded not guilty to the charges
Along with Enamorado, police also arrested Wendy Lujan, David Chavez, Stephanie Amesquita, Gullit Eder Acevedo, Edwin Pena, Fernando Lopez, and Vanessa Carrasco. Police arrested them Thursday morning on various charges. Enamorado is facing charges of false imprisonment, kidnapping, assault, unlawful use of tear gas, vandalism and other counts, according to court documents reviewed by the L.A. Times.
Police were investigating a September protest that the group allegedly attended with a PepperBall gun and pepper spray. According to court documents, they blocked a person from leaving the area. There was also an alleged assault the same month at a protest in Victorville that spurred the investigation.
On Monday, Enamorado’s lawyer Christian Contreras spoke to reporters and said they were targeting the defendants for protesting police violence. Their lawyer said with these arrests, law enforcement is infringing on their first amendment rights.
“They are criminalizing the right to protest. They are criminalizing the right to call out the elected officials, and they are criminalizing their critics,” Contreras said.