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‘What are residents left to do when you have no other alternative?’

Roberto Lopez
Roberto Lopez, a Norris Square resident, poses for a portrait at a rally near Norris Square Park on November 5, 2020. (Photo by Solmaira Valerio)

Roberto Lopez

Norris Square resident

Why are you at the rally tonight?

I’m here because when you’ve known somebody so long, and they’re fair,  good, trustworthy, honest, and all those types of adjectives that we can describe. [When] somebody bestows a negative label on him, there should be some counterbalance to that to say, “Hey! It’s not just me. Look at everyone else here to say, ‘We support this man.’”

How do you think the police department should handle emergency calls, like property damages, looting, and violence in the neighborhood?

The police department may be overstressed. They are being asked to go to too many places at once because of uprising calls. So, what are [residents] left to do when you have no other alternative? What are you left to do when you’re licensed to carry and your business is legit? And who knows, maybe you’re faced with a life or death situation. So rather than shoot-to-kill, maybe you give a warning shot to say, “Hey, I’m armed. Don’t come this way.”

If you could send a message to city leadership, what would you say?

Knowing Tony personally over a number of years, as a business owner, he always donated to nonprofit organizations that had events in the community, Norris Square up to Fairhill Park. He was always available to the community; A silent partner, but at the same time, very visible, very vocal, and just contributed substantially. For him to be accused of something like a malicious vigilante act is hard to believe. As far as looting goes, you shouldn’t have to give up or allow people to take your hard-earned earnings from a business that you built.

Across the country, everybody is allowed to bear certain arms. It’s an amendment, your right to protect your business and your property. And I don’t think he did anything wrong. People were quick to jump to conclusions.


To read more Community Responses, click here.


Editors: Zari Tarazona, Claire Wolters, Siani Colón / Designer: Henry Savage

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