Things That Matter

Joe Lopez Is Launching A Career Comeback After Serving Time For Raping Teenage Niece

Do you believe people deserve redemption? In today’s society, cancel culture is real and it has ended the career of many in entertainment, politics, and sports. Some have committed such egregious crimes that their cancelation is in line with societal values and norms. That is a discussion happening now with Joe Lopez’s return to the music world after 12 years in prison for raping his niece when she was 13 years old.

A Tejano musician who was in prison for 12 years after he was convicted of raping his own niece is making a return to the music world.

Credit: El Rodeo Disco / Facebook

Joe Lopez, a 69-year-old singer of the Tejano group called Banda Mazz, was released from prison in 2018 after the parole board deemed it was okay for him to be let go. He was supposed to be in jail for 20 years but was released early, as the Daily Mail reports, after the “Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles decided last week to allow Lopez to enter the county ‘solely for employment purposes.'”

Raymond Estrada, a spokesperson for the parole board, said they encourage offenders to be able to get jobs after their release from prison. 

“The board recognizes the importance of employment as being a critical component to successful reentry for offenders,” Estrada, told the San Antonio Current. “If public safety is not compromised, we support such initiatives.”

That statement is a bit unsettling, considering that Lopez, who is a sex offender, will be singing to women of all ages at concerts. 

In 2004, Lopez was convicted of raping his niece. She was only 13-years-old at the time.

The crime occurred in Rancho Viejo, a small town outside Brownsville, Texas. He has since returned to that same neighborhood, which is where his niece still lives. While he is registered as a sex offender, he has always maintained that he never committed the crime. 

Lopez’s niece has yet to comment on the release of her convicted uncle. However, Andy Kahan of Crime Stoppers Houston and an advocate of the rape victim said the parole’s decision to release Lopez early is a “slap in the face.”  He added, “I can’t fathom their rationale for allowing this to happen. How can I in good conscience now tell victims we can get that in the conditions of their release when it’s subject to being easily removed and changed?”

If you’re thinking that there’s no way people would be interested in hearing Lopez sing again with his band, think again. At least one of his shows is sold out.

Lopez will be performing with his old group Banda Mazz on a comeback tour, and at least one show was sold out as soon as it announced. Oh, and the show is called the “Freedom Tour.” 

El Rodeo Disco uploaded one of Banda Mazz’s videos, and most people on social media were thrilled about the band’s return. 

Pablo Hernandez wrote on Facebook, “Been waiting long enough. Alli voy a estar.” Sylvia Ortiz also chimed in saying, “Whom am I to judge. Love ur music.” Others said, “is this show sold out?” Another said, “can’t wait!” One person, however, did not approve. Juan N Esme Reynoso wrote on Facebook, “This was when he wasn’t a child molester. Rodeo Disco is wrong for letting him perform.”

Lopez definitely has a following. On the band’s Facebook page, fans were thrilled that the band would be headed on a comeback tour.

Sandra Vallejo who serves as Lopez’s manager told the Daily Mail they are seeking to exonerate him of the rape charges. She adds, “For every one person against him, there are three more who support him.” She is right about that. From our research of the band on social media, people are praising their return. 

We think it’s mostly due to the band’s older audience. It’s interesting to note that the biggest Tejano music star — Selena Quintanilla, of course — has some of the most socially conscious fans, especially her new fans. So perhaps some of them will organize a rally at some of Banda Mazz’s shows. Because you know Selena would never stand for a convicted sex offender perform in Texas, or anywhere for that matter, knowing full well that there is a dangerous element involved. 

READ: A Woman Has Come Forward To Accuse An ICE Agent Of Rape And Threatening Her With Deportation

Terrifying Moment Caught On Camera When A White Woman Pulls A Gun On A Black Woman In A Parking Lot

Things That Matter

Terrifying Moment Caught On Camera When A White Woman Pulls A Gun On A Black Woman In A Parking Lot

Takelia Shanee / Facebook

A disturbing video is going viral on social media. A Black Michigan mom stared down the barrel of a gun pointed by an angry white woman in a parking lot. The video is the latest example of Black Americans being violently targeted by white people.

Takelia Hill shared a video on Facebook of a terrifying encounter in a parking lot.

Posted by Takelia Shanee on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The video starts with the image of a white woman holding a gun with fear and anger as she yells at Hill. The woman claims that Hill tried to jump behind her minivan and she was leaving the parking lot. Hill can be heard arguing with the woman refuting her claims that Hill was somehow the aggressor of the out of control and dangerous situation.

A Twitter version of the video, shared by someone identifying as a relative, has been viewed more than 11 million times on Thursday.

Hill’s daughter was recording the confrontation after the woman bumped into her.

According to The Detroit News, the argument began because the white woman bumped into Hill’s daughter and didn’t apologize. The argument escalated quickly when the Hill was almost hit with the minivan as the white couple started to drive. Hill hit the car and the white woman jumped out of the car and drew her gun.

The woman was arrested but released, according to a woman identifying as a close family member.

The police have not confirmed the information tweeted by the family member. The video is sparking outrage in the area of Auburn Hills, Michigan.

“I am deeply disturbed by an incident last night where a woman pointed a cocked gun at another woman during an argument,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said in a statement, according to The Detroit News. “This behavior is unacceptable. I wholly expect the prosecutor to bring charges that reflect the severity of the incident.”

People in social media are angry after seeing the video and are offering advice on how the family should move forward.

One state senator is calling for action on gun reform in Michigan after the video. Fortunately, Hill and her daughter survived the encounter but the trauma of living through that is taxing.

“Michigan needs commonsense gun reform, and we need it now. People should feel safe going about their day and not have to worry about having a gun pulled on them during a conflict,” state Sen. Rosemary Baye told The Detroit News. “This incident clearly shows we have much work to do because this is not how we should be treating each other.”

READ: People Are Using Social Media to Highlight Racism On The Islands

Military Suspect In Vanessa Guillen’s Disappearance Commits Suicide

Things That Matter

Military Suspect In Vanessa Guillen’s Disappearance Commits Suicide

Anthony Smith / Getty Images

The search for Vanessa Guillen has ended after human remains were identified as the missing soldier. An investigation into the crime has led to suspects being identified and arrested. Here’s what we know so far.

A soldier, who was a suspect in Vanessa Guillen’s death, committed suicide Wednesday.

Human remains were discovered Tuesday and identified as Vanessa Guillen on Wednesday. The suspects in Guillen’s death have not been named but one of the suspects committed suicide on Wednesday morning. The military suspect shot himself while law enforcement was searching for him.

Tim Miller, the founder of Texas Equusearch, told the Houston Chronicle that he believes the military suspect killed himself at 1:30 a.m. local time. The military suspect, who was in Killeen, Texas, committed suicide shortly after human remains were discovered near the Leon River in Bell County, Texas.

Guillen’s family have expressed their grief at press conferences since the body was identified.

The family is demanding justice. One civilian suspect is currently in jail after being arrested in connection with Guillen’s death. One of Guillen’s sisters recognized the military suspect. Mayra Guillen told the press that she met the military suspect who committed suicide.

“At approximately 1:29 a.m., officers located the suspect in the 4700 block of East Rancier Avenue,” reads the statement from the Killeen Police Department website. “As officers attempted to make contact with the suspect, the suspect displayed a weapon and discharged it towards himself.  The suspect succumbed from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

The suspects have not been identified, however, we do have descriptions of the suspects.

“The person who took his own life earlier today in Killeen after being sought by Killeen police and federal marshals was a soldier from Fort Hood and had fled the base earlier in the day,” reads a statement by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. “A civilian has been arrested in connection with Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance. The civilian suspect is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood Soldier and is currently in custody in the Bell County Jail awaiting charges by civilian authorities.”

The case has captivated the nation as some people hurt for the family.

The investigation into Vanessa Guillen’s death is still ongoing. There are no answers yet but her family alleges that Guillen was coming forward with sexual assault and harassment allegations. The family’s recounting of Guillen’s sexual assault allegations is renewing the conversation of sexual assault in the military.

The family is calling out Fort Hood and the military’s response to the disappearance of Guillen. According to the family, they have been pleading with Fort Hood and the U.S. Army to conduct an investigation but saw nothing happening.

READ: Partial Human Remains Found Near Fort Hood Likely Vanessa Guillen’s