Vendors claim police harrassment in SoHo

September 5, 2012 3:17:52 PM PDT
Vendors selling food and just about everything else are a common sight in Manhattan.

Legally licensed vendors in the upscale SoHo neighborhood say they're being harassed and unfairly targeted by police.

In some cases, they've had their entire merchandise confiscated.

Su Amud says he depends on each sale to survive.

So each police citation he gets is not just a setback, it's a step closer to unemployment.

"When police man come here I have lot of customer. He tell them don't buy don't buy," Amud said.

In May, more than a dozen vendors including Amud were hit with tickets during a police sweep along Broadway near Spring and Prince.

They claim all of their merchandise; food, jewelry, and photographs, were illegally confiscated by uniformed and plain clothes officers.

Some vendors got $1,000 tickets.

"I feel like I'm a criminal because police is always chasing us but I am not a criminal. I'm a hard working woman. Because I have to take care of my family, I work 7 days a week outside," said Jampa Dolma, a vendor.

The vendors say these were minor infractions, like being too close to a building or having a cart that's too tall.

Keep in mind, many of the high rent stores and apartments have signs posted saying "no vendors".

However, these vendors say they're licensed and allowed to be there.

Attorneys say in the end, most of the tickets were dismissed but it was still an embarrassing and humiliating experience.

"We hope this case sends a message to the NYPD that vendors are organizing and will no longer stand there while the police take away their livelihood," said Matthew Shapiro, an attorney.

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