Angry driver

Mayoral candidate caught on tape shouting antigay slurs at cyclist says he was exercising free speech

Ryan Thompsen was riding his bike home from work last Thursday in San Jose, California when the driver of a grey Nissan illegally blocked the bike lane.

When Thompsen stopped his bike to confront the man about it, the driver went off on a homophobic tirade. And the whole thing was caught on tape.

“That’s the bike lane,” Thompsen can be heard saying in the video, which appears to have been recorded from his helmet cam.

“Hey, no sh*t,” responds the driver.

When Thompsen tells him to get out of the bike lane, the driver says, “F*ck you” then calls him an “Aryan” and an “asshole” before directing him to go a different way.

“You’re a f*g,” the driver snarls. “You’re a f*g.”

“What does that have to do with it?” Thompsen replies.

“All Aryans are f*gs, motherf*cker!” the driver says. “Am I wrong?”

A local CBS news station identified the driver as Cornelius Lopes, who confirmed to the station that it is, indeed, him in the video hurling homophobic slurs for seemingly no reason at Thompsen.

Lopes is a former city council candidate from Newark, California who is said to be running for mayor next year.

He told reporters he was merely “exercising his right to free speech” and  “violated no laws” when he called Thompsen a “f*g.”

But this isn’t Lopes’ first run-in with a cyclist. The Mercury News reports:

According to court documents, Lopes was also involved in an incident involving a bicyclist in 2004, when he allegedly extended his arm, striking a moving cyclist in the chest during a road race, and responded to a bystander who warned him not to go into the roadway during the race,  “F— you, Jew.”

Lopes was later arrested and charged with “misdemeanor battery” for intentionally causing the collision with the cyclist, but according to the court documents “was never convicted.”  He then sued the city of Newark, the Newark Police Department, the Newark police union and members of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for wrongfully arresting him. The lawsuit was dismissed.