Video of sanitation workers disposing of produce in Allerton goes viral
A video on social media that shows police and city workers throwing out fruits and vegetables from a street stand in the Allerton is going viral.
In the Instagram video taken Thursday, NYPD and Department of Sanitation workers are seen throwing out what News 12 was told was thousands of dollars' worth of produce from a street vendor at the corner of White Plains Road and Pelham Parkway South.
"How can you do something like that? Trying to take people out of the business. This is very convenient for me and for a lot of people that live around here, because they don't have a license, but their food is cheaper and it's much better," said customer Ana Molina.
An official at one of the agencies who was involved told News 12 the video only shows one side of the story.
According to the agency, an inspector came to issue a violation following multiple warnings in English and Spanish that the vendor needed a license. Instead of getting one or staying to take the violation, the agency said the owner abandoned the cart and left the food unattended on the sidewalk.
While city officials said it's usually their policy to try to donate the food, since it was just sitting there and they had no way of confirming where it was originally from, they did not feel it was safe enough and had no choice but to get rid of what had become just a bunch of fruit left on the sidewalk.
That caused a crowd to gather and create the scene that was recorded in the video.
The stand was back Saturday night, but workers said it was a little smaller than normal after what happened.
Off camera, workers told News 12 it was a misunderstanding and that there are several owners.
They said police approached one of them about a license while they were in the middle of bringing more produce to the table, and thought they showed what they needed before they left to go pick up more food.
After they left, News 12 was told police called for reinforcements and began to throw out the food. By the time another owner got there to show them more paperwork, it was too late, and workers were left confused and frustrated.
One of the vendors told News 12 selling the fruits and vegetables is what puts food on their families' tables. He said there was no need for police and the sanitation workers to dispose of the food in the garbage. He said that the workers do not want to lose their jobs and added that it was not fair what happened to them as they were just doing their job.
Meanwhile, community members are planning a rally in support of fully legalizing street vending at the shop's location at noon on Sunday.
Local politicians, including Borough president candidate Vanessa Gibson and State Assembly Member Nathalia Ferandez, are expected to attend.