FONTANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A group of street vendors and their attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Fontana, claiming the city has been harassing them as they try to make a living.
In the lawsuit, the street vendors claim the city "engaged in discriminatory practices" and used police and other city resources to go after the vendors, shutting down their businesses and discarding their inventory.
The street vendors took their protest to Mayor Aquanetta Warren's home on Thursday, angry that an ordinance was passed regulating their trade.
"The last time when we protested outside the mayor's home, automatically, the police department showed up and declared an unlawful assembly," said street vendor Edin Enamorado. "There was no crime being committed, and they arrested several people, and when you look at the charges, they said it was for loud noise and disturbance."
The group claims this is one of the forms of harassment being used against the vendors by the city.
"When the community steps up, when activists come to their defense and try to help them, not only do they violate their first amendment rights, they arrest them, press bogus charges against them and then try to silence them," said attorney Christian Contreras, one of the attorneys representing the vendors.
Street vending in the city of Fontana is legal.
A spokesperson for the city sent Eyewitness News the city's rules and regulations, which is the ordinance that was passed in October that requires street food vendors to obtain the proper health permit from San Bernardino County.
It also requires street vendors to obtain Fontana city permits to do business there, and when it comes to preparing foods on-site, like tacos or cut fruit, the ordinance states that's not allowed.
The goal of the federal lawsuit, according to the lawyers and vendors, is to allow street vendors to take care of business and earn a living.
The city of Fontana said it does not comment on pending litigation.