‘I’m glad it actually happened. I think it’s good,’ victim says
Carlos Zapata, 42, his associate Elizabeth Bailey, 40, and her boyfriend Christopher Meagher, 45, are charged with misdemeanour battery and disturbing the peace for their alleged assault on Nathan ‘Blaze” Pinkey, an aspiring comedian and Black Lives Matter activist in the town of Redding while he was at work at a bar.
The charges allege that on 4 May Mr Zapata threw a drink on Mr Pinkey, prompting a heated exchange. Mr Zapata maintains it was an accident. Redding police stated that Mr Pinkey was given a black eye by Mr Meagher and Ms Bailey at the back of the restaurant while Mr Zapata stood and watched.
Daarbenewens, witnesses claim they banded around racial slurs; a claim supported by the police’s investigation, soos gerapporteer deur The Los Angeles Times.
Aan 6 Mei, Mr Pinkey lost his job over the incident but managed to acquire a restraining order against Mr Zapata. It was reportedly served to him at his daughter’s high school graduation and forced him to surrender his weapons to the authorities.
At the time of the altercation, the police published a statement with missing details that were later clarified to the Times by Redding Police Captain Jon Poletski. These included the lead up and the time of the fight, which allegedly began with Mr Meagher and Ms Bailey talking to Mr Pinkey, punching him and threatening him and his colleague.
“I’m glad it actually happened. I think it’s good,” Mr Pinkey told the Times after the charges were announced by Shasta County district attorney this week,
Mr Zapata is a vocal member of the Cottonwood militia, a group the vocally opposes coronavirus restrictions. He claims that he is innocent and that he was trying to calm things down as Mr Meagher and Ms Bailey attacked Mr Pinkey. According to Mr Zapata, unreleased CCTV footage will corroborate his version of events.
“The truth is going to come out. This is all political because I am part of a movement, a conservative movement,” he told the LA Times.
Aan 20 Junie 2020, Dan Scoville, a member of the group, posted a photo of the group on Twitter, and wrote, “American Patriots standing up for our 1st Amendment and protecting our police and property.”
Mr Pinkey has created a series of videos mocking Mr Zapata, who is currently attempting to oust three local Republicans officials after they backed the state’s Democratic governor Gavin Newsom’s policies to tackle Covid-19.
These issues reflect the wider problems throughout the town of Redding, as its conservative population express their discontent with strict social-distancing measures. Public meetings have featured threats of violence against town officials.
Mr Zapata’s efforts to oppose the coronavirus restrictions have gone as far as producing a documentary series called Red, White and Blueprint. As a part of this, he has stated his intention to collect “intelligence” on those who report outlets not following state government guidelines.