LOS ANGELES, CA (FOX 11) - A local group committed to legalizing street vending in Los Angeles lit candles in honor of Pedro Reyes who was robbed and brutally beaten while setting up his fruit cart.
“For us, justice for Pedro means beyond finding the folks who assaulted him, it means having the city take action and give vendors a fair street vending permit,” Abraham Zavala, Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign, said.
It was about 4 o’clock in the morning on Sunday March 18th when Reyes and other vendors set up their carts on the corner of 31st and San Pedro in South Los Angeles.
Security video shows a group of hooded men assaulting the vendors and when Reyes ran away he fell and was knocked unconscious.
“I was horrified because this is literally down the street from me,” Maria Flores, Union del Barrio, said. “To see something like this happening in my community is very alarming.”
Reyes suffered a broken jaw and fractures to his face.
Last year the city council decriminalized street vending, but advocates say council members have dragged their feet on a permitting process.
Advocates believe a permit would eliminate competition for vending space and put vendors in less danger.
“Vendors wouldn’t be waking up at four in the morning at a really early hour and be vulnerable to attacks,” Zavala said.
An update on a GoFundMe Page for Reyes states he’s been released from the hospital, but will have his mouth wired shut for the next six weeks and requires an in-home nurse to help with his recovery.
Meantime detectives said they’re still chasing down leads, but need the public’s help to identify the suspects.
“It’s hard not to feel compassion for this person who was brutally beaten out here trying to make an honest living,” Lt. Raul Jovel, Los Angeles Police Department, said. “A lot of our officers come from the same community that we police, so they truly understand the challenges these people go through and they really want justice for Pedro Reyes.”
There is a $25,000 reward for information leading to arrests in this case, detectives want to remind witnesses they can remain anonymous.