Downtown Los Angeles

‘He thought he was selling micheladas.' Family says street vendor fainted after alleged harassment by officer

According to witnesses, it all started when the officer saw that he had chamoy, tajín and lemon in his fruit stand.

A group of street vendors went to the Los Angeles Central Division police station to report an officer they say is harassing workers.

Supported by street vendors from Santee alley and local activists, Rosa Bernal's children arrived at the Central Division police station and said that the 58-year-old woman fainted after a police officer accused her of selling alcohol and taking his money.

“She fainted because she, since she has diabetes, she is sick, and her children tried to help her, but they couldn't. She is now in the hospital,” said Norma López, a street vendor.

Bernal's son explained to the paramedics that she is diabetic and that she received dialysis treatment that day.

"It hurts me that she is in the hospital because she was accused of something she would never do," said Eunice Oviedo, Rosa's daughter.

According to witnesses, it all started when the officer saw that he had chamoy, tajín and lemon at her fruit stand.

"She thought she was selling micheladas and they didn't find alcohol, she didn't find anything and they confiscated it," Oviedo said.

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According to the street vendors, that officer did not call the ambulance when Bernal complained that she felt unwell, and that he allegedly laughed when she passed out. In addition, they insist that this same officer has taken products and threatened them.

“He tells them that he is going to call immigration and that we cannot sell on the streets,” said Luis de Santiago, a street vendor.

Monday night, the street vendors made a formal complaint, and authorities have not given an official comment.

The children do not understand why this happened, since it is not the first time that Bernal has sold fruit in that place.

"She has been selling on that same street, in that same place, for more than 27 years," said Bernal's daughter.

She was taken to the hospital and released Monday night.

Bernal said over the phone that she is a little nervous, but that she has already arrived home, and she assures that if she feels well, she will go to work.

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