Local protesters participating in a peaceful march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement this past weekend in Lodi did not expect to be the targets of disparaging remarks, threats and even violence.
However, Hector Madrigal, a candidate for Lodi City Council, said an older man threatened him with violence during Saturday’s protest.
Madrigal was with about two dozen protesters that began a march at Emerson Park. The protest made its way through Downtown Lodi and stopped at the intersection of Lodi Avenue and School Street.
In a 48-second video posted to YouTube Monday, an elderly man can be seen approaching Madrigal and a few participants from the CVS parking lot on the southwest corner of the intersection.
The man, wearing a blue tie-dyed shirt, dark blue shorts and blue running shoes, can be heard telling the group to “Take that s--- to Stockton or someplace that gives a d--- about it.”
Madrigal can be heard telling the man the group is peaceful, and then identifies himself as a candidate for city council.
The man, standing at the corner waiting to cross the street, then replies “I’ll be sure I don’t vote for you and I’ll blow your f------ head off.”
Madrigal and his companions are taken aback, then ask the man to repeat himself. Rather than repeat the threat, the man again tells the group to “take that s--- back to Stockton where you’re from” as he cross Lodi Avenue.
When the group tells the man they are all from Lodi, the man uses another expletive to express his disbelief.
“I wasn’t angry or scared,” Madrigal said Monday. “I just asked ‘why?’ I just want to understand why people get so upset about (the movement).”
Madrigal said the group he marched with Saturday is not an official branch of the Black Lives Matter movement, but they want to show their support for the cause.
The group has conducted a few other events in the past, and Madrigal said this wasn’t the first time passersby had been negative.
At a recent event at Emerson Park, he said a car full of teenagers drove around the block yelling obscenities and disparaging racial remarks.
“I’ve asked people to come out over Facebook and e-mail, so they can talk about why they are so against this,” he said. “And some people have come out. I’ll listen to them, because I’m happy to talk about our different views. We’re all going to have different views. But we don’t see (Black Lives Matter) as political. It’s more of human rights issue.”
Madrigal said he doesn’t plan on pressing charges against the man, who didn’t give his name when asked by protesters. He said the group he marched with will most likely be out in Lodi again, although nothing is scheduled.
“We weren’t being aggressive, and we weren’t shouting negative comments about anyone,” he said. “We were just asking for justice. We do make sure everyone is peaceful during these things. When people try to incite us by saying things like those guys at Emerson did, we try to remain calm and collected.”
The video of Saturday’s incident can be found online at https://tinyurl.com/MadrigalBLM.