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Watch: San Francisco city worker chases hot dog vendor, knocks over cart in viral video

San Francisco Public Works looking into incident where employee pushed over vendor's food cart
San Francisco Public Works looking into incident where employee pushed over vendor's food cart 02:23

A widely-shared social media video showing a San Francisco Public Works employee running after a hot dog vendor and knocking over his cart has sparked backlash online.

Yeli, an East Bay resident who declined to share her last name, shot the video.

"At that time, I was in shock. I was obviously saying something to the guy that had did that to him, because I feel like that's rude for that to happen," she said. "He was just trying to make money."

UPDATE: Dozens rally for S.F. street vendor who lost hot dog cart in confrontation with city worker 

Yeli said it happened Sunday afternoon, and other vendors were nearby. She started to record after she heard a commotion, and people yelling for help.

"Hot dog vendors had came up to me, and they were asking can I see the video of what happened and I showed them and they had even told me that they're very happy and glad that someone finally recorded because they said that had happened multiple times, and they had no evidence of that," Yeli said.

San Francisco Public Works said in a statement to KPIX that it's investigating the incident.

We are continuing the investigation into the incident on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, in which one of our street inspectors working a multi-agency unpermitted food vending operation can be seen on video pushing over a street vendor's hot dog cart.

While we are still looking into what led up to that moment and the events that preceded, we strive to treat members of the public with respect during permit enforcement operations. We train our employees in de-escalation techniques with the goal of diffusing tense situations. In this circumstance, we did not meet that threshold and we apologize.

Once the investigation is concluded, we will take appropriate action, in accordance with the City's employee policies and procedures. 

San Francisco Department of Public Works

Last year, the city launched a permit system in an effort to crack down on illegal street vending. Public Works said at the time, permit enforcement would be a learning process for everyone.

"It's definitely appalling and I just feel like the way he went about it and I think when he seen that cameras were filming and rolling, he kind of backtracked and he said let me help him pick it up," said Alex Enamorado, an activist who advocates for street vendors. "But what are their priorities because there's definitely bigger fish to fry here."

He added that the permitting process can be difficult for vendors to navigate.

Both Yeli and Enamorado are trying to identify the vendor.

"I've seen people breaking into cars, and when I was walking that same day in San Francisco I seen a lot of cars with the windows broken and stuff, and he's attacking vendors when all they're trying to do is survive," said Yeli. "When they should be worried about people stealing and people getting away with stuff."

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