SAN LORENZO (KRON) — Immigrant and civil rights activists were handing out fruit and protesting the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.

And it all began with a photograph.

A citizen recently took a photo of a fruit vendor under arrest on a corner in San Lorenzo. A police officer was checking what the man had been selling without a permit.

And although it’s harder to see, the vendor is sitting in the shadows to the right–in handcuffs. The photo was posted on social media and stirred up controversy.

A protest on Wednesday was held outside the Alameda County Sheriff’s headquarters in Oakland with people arguing that it was pointless and insensitive to arrest the immigrant vendor.

The sheriff’s office says it’s not that simple. It said that a deputy approached the man to tell him it was illegal to sell produce on the corner, and when asked for his ID, he tried to run away.


it turns out the man is on federal probation.

“We don’t go out proactively seeking fruit vendors to arrest,” sheriff’s spokesman Ray Kelly said. “This case wouldn’t have even ended in an arrest had the person not tried to push past our deputy, literally push our deputy, and then tried to run and flee. All we wanted from the get-go was to tell this man, ‘Hey, please pack up your fruit and vegetables and could you please move on.'”

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has posted the photo on its own Facebook page with a letter of explanation. Sheriff’s officials were saying that selling food on street corners violates public health codes and county ordinances.

Deputies act on complaints from local businesses.

The department spokesman says the controversy has been hostile at times with deputies even getting death threats.