By Yadira Betances
LAWRENCE — A city parking clerk accused of threatening the leader of the recall effort against Mayor William Lantigua will face criminal charges.
Antonio Bueno, 72, is to be arraigned at Lawrence District Court Sept. 14 on charges of assault and battery and threats to kill against the Rev. Edwin Rodriguez.
Rodriguez and Bueno went before a clerk magistrate Wednesday after Rodriguez filed a complaint with Sgt. James Raso at Lawrence Police Headquarters saying he felt threatened by Bueno, a Lantigua supporter.
During the hearing, the clerk magistrate determined there was enough evidence to issue a criminal complaint.
"I'm happy because the law is taking its course," Rodriguez said. "I hope this sends a message to others that we live in a civilized society where laws are respected."
Rodriguez said the threat was made after he and Javier Negron, who was helping the minister with the recall, saw a Lawrence DPW truck double parked and idling outside the Bank of America branch at 257 Essex St. while the driver was in the bank.
Rodriguez said Lawrence traffic control officers were ticketing other vehicles, but leaving the DPW vehicle alone, which he said he thought was unfair.
Rodriguez said that when he took a photo of the truck, Bueno got out of the vehicle and came at him, "screaming" obscenities and bumping into Rodriguez.
According to the police report, Bueno told Rodriguez: "I know who ... you are ... you don't scare me. I will put a bullet in your head. If you were in my country I would have already put a bullet in your head and throw you in a pit," Rodriguez quoted Bueno, who was born in the Dominican Republic, as saying.
Although workers in the parking department drive vehicles marked "City of Lawrence D.P.W." They are not part of DPW, but are under the jurisdiction of the city's Community Development Department.
Bueno was represented by attorneys Marsha Kazarosian of Haverhill and Hector Pinero of Worcester. Bueno spoke through an interpreter and had a stenographer type the proceedings.
Rodriguez said Bueno's tone of voice became agitated as he explained his side of the story.
Bueno, who is known locally for singing ballads as a member of several groups and as a solo artist, could not be reach for comments.
Days after the incident, Bueno called a local Spanish radio talk show where he admitted the incident and said he was sorry.
"I'm very disappointed, because I was waiting for his apology at the hearing," Rodriguez said.
• • •
Join the discussion. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.