Street Vendors Rally To Protest Police Harassment

(FOX 11 / CNS) Activists are protesting the Los Angeles Police Department's treatment of street vendors today in response to what they say is a rise in police harassment even as city leaders are weighing a possible street vendor permitting program.

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Members of the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign say they will issue a "citizen's citation" to police Chief Charlie Beck for a "recent uptick in harassment" of vendors.

Mike Dennis, a spokesman for the group, said police have been "extremely rude" and are "asking for a lot of identification" from street vendors who are often in the country without proper immigration documentation.

While some encounters are "non-threatening," there have been cases in which vendors were met with "verbal violence" from police and threatened with having their goods and equipment confiscated, Dennis said.

Attorneys for the National Lawyers Guild will also be at the protest to talk about citations that have been issued to the vendors, according to Dennis.

He said the protest is aimed at "putting pressure on the LAPD to "decriminalize" street vending while City Hall works to legalize the activity.

The City Council's Economic Development Committee is still debating the issue and a task force has been meeting regularly to craft the proposed program, Dennis said.

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