Man allegedly threatened to kill Baltimore restaurant owner over anti-Trump poster, police say

A Baltimore restaurant owner said a man threatened to kill her after he spotted a poster at her Fells Point restaurant criticizing President Donald Trump.

Rosalyn Vera, owner of Cocina Luchadoras in the 200 block of Broadway, said the man called her business twice Thursday threatening to harm her if she did not remove the poster. The poster in question depicts an image of the president with a message in Spanish that roughly translates to “Donald, you are stupid.”


Vera bought the poster from Mezcal Ilegal, a distilled beverage company that donates its merchandise proceeds to various nonprofits. Vera has other similar posters hung around her business that are critical of Trump’s policies or are pro-immigration, she said.

The business owner reported the incident to police, who responded to the scene and took information from the caller identification on her phone, according to a police report filed Thursday. Police have not released a name of the suspect.

A number of restaurants across Baltimore will not open Thursday to support A Day Without Immigrants.

When the man first called, he started to talk to Vera about how her people were invading the United States, she said Friday. Vera says she is a U.S. citizen.

“I’m really scared,” she said.

In addition to the death threat, Vera says the man allegedly threatened to burn down her restaurant. She started to cry as she recounted the alleged threat and spoke of how her parents emigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s in hopes of a better economic opportunity.

Her parents, she said, are an example of the American dream.

“We’re trying to make a living here and not bother anyone,” Vera said.

Vera opened Cocina Luchadoras more than a year ago. Since Trump was elected to public office, she said she has experienced an uptick in instances of prejudice in Baltimore.

Most recently, a man in a grocery store told her to go back to Honduras when she told an elderly woman in Spanish that she could pass in front of her in the checkout line, Vera said.

Maryland law enforcement agencies received 398 reports of hate or bias last year, an increase of 35 percent from 2016 — and a pace of more than one report a day. The state’s experience echoes a national increase in reported hate crimes, reversing a long, gradual decline.

In Maryland, reports of hate are on the rise, according to a report from State Police. The state’s experience echoes a national increase in reported hate crimes, reversing a long, gradual decline, The Baltimore Sun reported in October.

Still, Vera said the community has been supportive since she opened her business. She plans to continue operations as usual, despite feeling shaken by Thursday’s incident.

“I love Baltimore,” Vera said. “Stuff like that is not going to stop us. This is a great city. This is my city and I love it and I'm always going to support it.”

Vera is determined not to take down the poster, she said.

“It’s freedom of speech,” Vera said. “I can do whatever I want to in my restaurant.”


Baltimore Sun reporters Thalia Juarez and Catherine Rentz contributed to this article.

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