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Police respond to video showing altercation between officer, street food vendor

Updated August 8, 2023 - 10:55 am

A video circulating over social media shows a street food vendor being detained by Las Vegas police near the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on Sunday.

In the video, the vendor is selling flavored waters near the Strip, and a Metropolitan Police Department officer is shown detaining the vendor.

The department released bodycam video from the altercation, along with a statement on Monday, defending the officer’s response.

“What the Instagram video does not show is what happened immediately prior. During the incident, the vendor pushed the officer to the ground as he was attempting to detain him,” police said in the statement.

Police said that an officer had an encounter with the vendor on Saturday where “he reminded the vendor that operating without a license is illegal.”

After Metro released its statement, Sen. Fabian Doñate, D-Las Vegas, who sponsored legislation that helped legitimize street food vendors as small businesses, issued his own statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“The members of the Nevada Latino Legislative Caucus and Secretary of State Aguilar are in communication with Sheriff McMahill’s team and will work together while the county and state begin to roll out new changes and regulations for street vendors to fully operate legally,” he said.

The law took effect July 1 and established a process for creating a legal way to become a street food vendor. A task force is being created where counties and cities can implement their own restrictions.

The legislation prohibits street food vendors from being within 1,500 feet of resorts and gaming, but that won’t take effect until Oct. 15.

“While the legislation has indeed been signed by the Governor, it’s crucial to note that street vendors are currently not legally permitted to operate within Clark County,” said Yazmin Beltran, a Clark County spokesperson.   

The law requires vendors to apply for permits and business licenses to operate in Clark and Washoe counties, but that process is still in the works as the county and city haven’t passed ordinances, according to Doñate.

City and county jurisdictions can prohibit sidewalk vending in the vicinity of schools, food establishments, child care facilities, parks, recreational facilities owned by the county, places of worship and pedestrian malls.

“As the sponsors of SB 92, we will work to ensure that street food vendors are protected and in compliance with the new law,” Doñate said.

Contact Jimmy Romo at jromo@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0350. Follow @jimi_writes on Twitter.

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