BROOKLYN, NY – A longtime fruit vendor who was taken handcuffed and strip-searched by cops in Brooklyn has renewed the rallying cries of defenders of the city’s street vendors.
Maria Falcon – who was with a friend whose own handcuffs went viral three years ago – was taken by police to Broadway Junction just over a week ago while her daughter was filming, lawyers say and reports.
The arrest, which police say came after complaints about Falcon and a previous summons, has been viewed nearly a million times since it was shared on the Street Vendor Project on Saturday. Twitter.
‘Shame on our city for choosing cruelty over supporting hardworking mothers,’ the advocacy group wrote, describing the arrest as ‘horrendous treatment’ of a mother and entrepreneur immigrant.
Falcon, who has been selling mangoes and kiwis from her street cart for more than 10 years, was detained at the NYPD transit station for more than two hours, amNY reports. Cops confiscated Falcon’s carts and merchandise and made her remove her sweater, pants and shoes to be strip searched by a female officer for drugs and weapons, according to the outlet.
Mayor Eric Adams – who has sent more cops to the subway – said on Monday the arrest was part of a crackdown on transit rules, although he said the city would look into whether it had been handled properly.
“There’s a reason we have health department standards – if people are just selling food without any form of quality assurance of their food, someone can get sick from it” , Adams said. “If we follow the rules, we won’t have these incidents.”
But advocates say the city’s broken licensing system for vendors has made it nearly impossible, even for those whose food is licensed by health officials.
Proponents have long argued that a decades-old cap on vendor licenses has created a dangerous underground market for permits and left vendors who are tagged for selling without a license in a cycle of debt.
According to Street Vendor Project organizers, Falcon was denied a mobile food vendor license despite passing the Health Department‘s food safety course and paying taxes for her business. due to the ceiling. They highlighted Tuesday the mayor’s previous support for raising that cap.
“Street vendors like Maria fully intend to follow the rules, just like any other small business,” the Street Vendor Project and a coalition of support organizations said in a statement on Tuesday. “We hope the mayor will work with us to reform this archaic and arbitrary system that has discriminated against the street vendor industry, an iconic part of New York City.”