L.A. to Spend Up to $150,000 to Settle Street Vendor Lawsuit

Los Angeles lawmakers have agreed to spend up to $150,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by street vendors who claimed that their carts and other belongings had been improperly seized and destroyed.

Aureliano Santiago, a street vendor, answers questions from reporters during a 2015 news conference about a lawsuit filed against the city of Los Angeles. Santiago was a plaintiff in the case. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Aureliano Santiago, a street vendor, answers questions from reporters during a 2015 news conference about a lawsuit filed against the city of Los Angeles. Santiago was a plaintiff in the case. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Pushcart vendors and their advocates sued the city two years ago, arguing that the Los Angeles Police Department and the Fashion District Business Improvement District, which contracts with cleanup crews, had trampled on their rights by taking away and trashing their belongings.

L.A. lawmakers have repeatedly vowed to legalize and regulate vending, but selling food or goods on the sidewalk is still a violation of the municipal code, punishable with administrative fines.

Up until earlier this year, it could also lead to criminal charges. However, attorneys with the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU of Southern California claimed that vendors were being stripped of their belongings even if they were not being arrested, “a sort of extrajudicial street punishment.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.