Petition to remove UCPD officer receives more than 21,000 signatures

Martin Flores/Facebook/Courtesy

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A petition to remove UCPD Officer Sean Aranas was created Saturday by campus student Vicky Zamarripa and has received more than 21,000 signatures as of press time.

The petition surfaced after Aranas was captured on video writing a citation for a hot dog street vendor and taking money out of the vendor’s wallet. Campus alumnus Martin Flores took these videos and posted them on Facebook to raise awareness about this interaction with Aranas. The post was shared more than 95,000 times and received more than 20,000 likes as of press time.

“We believe that our officers should focus on protecting our students and our community. And most importantly, we believe our officers should be respectful towards students and community members (and not single out people of color),” Zamarripa said in the petition. “Because S. Aranas #76 has failed to do so, we are asking for his immediate removal from UCPD.”

UCPD spokespeople did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Other allegations have also appeared across various Facebook posts and comments on the petition, describing Aranas’ behavior as unnecessarily aggressive towards students and people of color.

ASUC President Zaynab AbdulQadir-Morris wrote in a Facebook comment that she has personally witnessed officers targeting her friends and will bring up the issue with interim Vice Chancellor Stephen Sutton in a meeting with him this week. She will ask the ASUC Senate to pass a bill and take an official stance supporting the removal of Aranas, according to AbdulQadir-Morris.

Flores attended the Cal football game Saturday with his family and was only able to get the first name of the vendor, who said his name was Juan.  

After the game, Flores was ordering hot dogs from the street vendor when Aranas approached Juan and began to write up a citation for him not having a permit to sell food on the street. Flores said he saw other illicit activities, such as drinking alcohol on campus and scalping game tickets, happening in plain sight.

“They have a blind eye for some of the issues that could be addressed,” Flores said. “But why is it that this hot dog vendor was selectively identified?”

During the interaction with Aranas, Flores said Juan looked scared but was cooperative. Flores has started a GoFundMe for Juan, which has already raised more than $35,000.

“The only beautiful thing here is there is a lot of community support,” Flores said. “Juan will be located and will benefit from those funds … whether it’s getting a car, getting a permit, whatever is the applicable thing to address the issue.”

Malini Ramaiyer is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @malinisramaiyer.