An employee at a recreational center in Nebraska was fired after allegedly assaulting two teenage girls who he claimed had threatened and pushed his son.
The 38-year-old employee of the Air Park Community Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, claimed that he “got jumped” in an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star and said he was defending his son and himself.
The boy, who is 12 years old, was pushed and threatened by a group of teens, according to father Brent Lopez. The father said he told the teens that they would be suspended from the rec center for seven days.
“You’re out of here. You’re gone. You need to go now. Get out,” he recalled saying. Afterwards, Lopez said the girls started threatening him and his son. “I know when a threat is a threat. And I was getting threatened.”
Despite calling police, the man said he felt he needed to physically remove one of the kids to prevent an escalation. At this point, he said he was mobbed by a group of the teens.
Cell phone footage appeared to show at least one child get put to the ground, while multiple others then surrounded the man. He is then seen chasing after another child.
The full context of what unfolded before the short segment of footage began is unknown, and the footage is indeed blurry.
Lopez said the situation justified his actions.
“In that situation, when I’m getting attacked and I’m next to my 12-year-old son, and he’s fighting too, I’m gonna make sure I don’t get hurt and I’m gonna make sure he don’t get hurt,” Lopez said.
“I hate that it happened, man,” Lopez continued. “A lot of times I could look back and say, ‘You could have done this, you could have done that,’ but things happened how they happened. I feel terrible.”
Lopez had reportedly texted his boss earlier in the day for permission to go home because he felt “unwelcome.” His request was denied because of short staffing.
“The reported actions taken by Brent Lopez are in conflict with the law and our policies,” according to Maggie Stuckey-Ross, the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department director. “The safety of the community members using our facilities is our number one priority.”
After reviewing surveillance footage, police charged Lopez on suspicion of two counts of misdemeanor assault.
“I am not your enemy,” Lopez said.
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