Willy Street businesses hope for peaceful reaction to DA’s decision
Businesses along Williamson Street are looking at the history of peaceful demonstrations in gauging how the community will react to District Attorney Ismael Ozanne’s decision to not criminally charge Officer Matt Kenny, who shot and killed Tony Robinson March 6.
“I think just try to be as peaceful as possible,” said Patsy Aleman, who lives and works on Willy Street. “If we see something’s going on just try to keep calm.”
Leading up to Ozanne’s decision, Aleman’s boss is keeping the El Sabor de Puebla Mexican Restaurant, which sits just two doors down from the home where Robinson was killed, open Tuesday. They’ll be waiting to see how people react.
“I don’t blame them for the anger. I know how emotional and sad of losing someone,” Aleman said. “Just as best as possible as we can, I know it’s a very hard issue, but just try to keep calm.”
Across the street, Spirit Gas Station attendant Vijay Atalia, who was there the night of the shooting, does not worry about Tuesday because protesting has always been peaceful.
“No. We don’t have any problem in the store actually,” Atalia said.
Peace was the universal theme from city leaders.
“I hope no one wants to do something different with our city,” Supervisor Shelia Stubbs said. “Because it is a beautiful city. Let’s be peaceful. Let’s respect the Robinson family.”
Robinson’s family has planned a 4 p.m. news conference at the Social Justice Center, which is just down the street from the home where he died. The news conference will be after a meeting with Ozanne after he releases his decision.
After their news conference, Robinson’s family plans to march with supporters to the Capitol.
Willy Street Coop Communications Director Brendon Smith said because of traffic problems anticipated from a planned Wednesday march, the Willy Street location will be closed that day.