A local militia member and restaurateur who’s fueled a recall effort aimed at county commissioners in Shasta County, California, now faces misdemeanor battery and disturbing the peace charges over a May 4 confrontation with a local satirist at the victim’s workplace.
The recall leader and Cottonwood militia member, Carlos Zapata, has long raged at the parody videos that comic Nathan Pinkney has published online, which skewer the local recall movement aimed at several county commissioners over COVID-19 orders. Zapata earned a modicum of celebrity after blowing up at the board of commissioners last year, later appearing on Alex Jones’ “InfoWars” show and launching a documentary series that was covered by Fox News.
And Zapata and his followers have spurred a wave of threats at the commissioners, Pinkney and others in the community as Shasta County fractured along partisan lines as the fight over COVID-19 guidance raged on.
On May 4, Zapata allegedly threw a drink at Pinkney at the restaurant where Pinkney worked at the time (Zapata denies wrongdoing and told the Los Angeles Times it was an accident). Later that night, an acquaintance of Zapata’s, Christopher Meagher, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Bailey, confronted Pinkney at the restaurant’s back entrance and allegedly attacked him. The pair also face the same misdemeanor charges.
Surveillance video of the incident has not been released publicly, but police have said that Meagher punched Pinkney and held a CO2 bottle at him in a “threatening manner.” Pinkney says he lost his job at the restaurant as a result of the incident.
Pinkney has obtained a temporary restraining order against Zapata — forcing Zapata to turn in his firearms — and is seeking a permanent order, his lawyer Lisa Jensen told TPM.
“I’m glad they at least charged Zapata with battery and didn’t shy away just because of politics,” Jensen told TPM.
“This would have been a lot better news a month ago, but at least it’s something,” Pinkney said in a video after the charges were announced. “What it shows is that the DA reviewed all the evidence, and that they found that those three were at fault.”
Meagher and Bailey also now face charges over the alleged assault of an elderly man over the weekend.
Pinkney published leaked surveillance footage of that incident online, showing a man slamming a victim’s head into a wall. For that incident, Meagher faces felony assault and felony elder abuse charges and Bailey is accused of being an accessory after the fact. Meagher remains in custody.
The recall effort itself is back up and running after a clerical error forced the movement to restart its signature-gathering process. One supporter of the recall effort recently alleged that a man slapped her as she gathered signatures.
Responding to a question from Pinkney during a board of supervisors meeting Tuesday, one member of the board who supports the recall effort targeting three other members, Patrick Jones, said he considered Pinkney to be a terrorist.
“I consider you a domestic terrorist,” Jones said, according to KRCR. “You have taken part in Black Lives Matter.”