"Love is love" sign set on fire outside Allentown home

Posted at 10:58 AM, Sep 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-21 17:24:12-04

“I didn't see anyone coming or going. My first thought was get a photo of it and put it out,” said Johanna Dominguez as she recalled what unfolded in her front yard Tuesday night. 

Moments early, she'd been reading in her bedroom, when she smelled smoke. “It wasn't until I got outside that I realized someone had deliberately set the fire and it was my sign that was burning.”

The sign read “In our America, women are in charge of their own bodies. Science is real. Black lives matter. Diversity is celebrated. Kindness is everything. Love is love.” Dominguez said it stood for peace and inclusion, and now it’s torched almost beyond recognition. 

She quickly snapped a photo as evidence before she put out the fire. 

A neighbor's surveillance video shows a man walking by moments before the fire started. Dominguez believes he is responsible. 

Buffalo Police are investigating. But, so far, they haven't made any arrests.  It's likely whoever is responsible won't be charged with a hate crime. “Because so many groups are included, it's impossible without a statement from this perpetrator to know how was being targeted,” explained 7 Eyewitness News legal analyst Florina Altshiler.

As for Dominguez, she plans to install surveillance cameras on her property for peace of mind, and she's making another addition as well. “I plan to keep this (burned sign) up and put the whole one next to it. {ALI How come?} I think it's important for people to see the message and that some people do disagree but that it's a rebuild of what was there before.”

She may feel violated from being vandalized but she won’t be silenced.