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Militia members, 2 others accused of assaulting BLM activists

Three people, including a high-profile Northern California militia member, were charged in an attack on a Black Matthew life activist in her workplace, the Shasta County district attorney’s office announced this week.

Carlos Zapata, a outspoken member of the Cottonwood militia, was charged with battery misdemeanors and disturbing the peace by fighting in connection with a May argument with Nathan “Blaze” Pinkney, a BLM activist and budding comedian.

Facing the same charges are Elizabeth Bailey, an associate of Zapata, and her boyfriend, Christopher Meagher.

Pinkney said she was relieved that the allegations were filed, nearly two months after the incident took place.

“I’m glad it actually happened,” Pinkney said Monday. “I think it’s good.”

Zapata said Monday that he did not attack Pinkney, but preferred to try to de-aggravate the situation. Zapata said the incident’s surveillance video, which was not released publicly by police, would show him trying to pull Meagher and Bailey away from Pinkney.

“The truth will come out,” Zapata said. “This is all politics because I’m part of a movement, a conservative movement.”

For months, Pinkney made video political parodies of Zapata, a leader in an effort to recall a trio of Republican Shasta County supervisors who supported Gov.Gavin Newsom’s pandemic health order. Pinkney was vocally opposed to the recall.

On May 4, Pinkney was working as a cooking line at the Blade Market Street and Barrel restaurant in Redding when she spotted Zapata at the bar.

Shortly after the two saw each other, Zapata threw a drink at Pinkney, and raised from there, according to police. Zapata said Monday he had accidentally hit the ice, but that night, Pinkney ended up with a black eye after Bailey and Meagher allegedly attacked him inside the back of the restaurant while Zapata was present, according to police and interviews with people involved.

The battle raised tensions in Redding, a conservative town where residents were divided over health risks pose by the coronavirus, the power of government and the degree to which armed citizens should take matters into their own hands.

Speakers at supervisory meetings threatened violence. Opponents of the far right, as well as supporters of pandemic health measures, say they are afraid to speak out for fear of punishment. Militia members attended racial justice rallies carrying concealed weapons.

Zapata, a 42-year-old combat veteran of the Marine Corps and owner of the Palomino Room bar and nearby Red Bluff restaurant, was at the center of the fray.

It is produced and begins in a documentary series, called “Red, White and plan, “Focused on the recall effort, and warned in one online video that he and other militia members had collected“ intelligence ”on those who reported businesses defying health orders.

On the night of the argument, Zapata left the restaurant in his car, but received calls and texts from Pinkney, he told the Times. Bailey said he called Zapata to return after he left.

Nathan Pinkney pointed at him as he spoke

Nathan Pinkney speaks out against efforts to remind Shasta County Supervisory Board members.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Police issued a statement shortly after the fight that left some information and contained information that conflicts with the details of those involved and the witnesses given to the Times. Redding Police Captain Jon Poletski later clarified details in the Times, including where the attack took place and what led up to it.

Poletski said Bailey and Meagher confronted Pinkney just inside the back room of the restaurant, after Bailey allegedly grabbed Pinkney’s shirt at the entrance. According to police, Zapata was present with Meagher and Bailey.

Hardest stepped inside the restaurant, Poletski said, where he rubbed Pinkney in his face and mounted a large cylinder of carbon dioxide and held him toward Pinkney and coworkers.

The co-worker, a Black man, said he heard words Na repeated during the confrontation. Not sure if he was targeted, he said he punched Meagher, which police confirmed. Poletski also confirmed that the police investigation documented racial insults uttered during the meeting.

Pinkney, who lost her kitchen job over the incident, obtained a temporary restraining order against Zapata on May 6th.

Pinkney’s attorney, Lisa Jensen, tried to make the order served for weeks at the local sheriff’s office before finally enlisting an associate to serve Zapata at her daughter’s high school graduation. Zapata said he abandoned his weapon at a local gun store, as the order requires.

District attorneys filed the charges Monday morning, two days after Meagher and Bailey were allegedly involved in another assault incident at a local bar, the Tropics. In the latest incident, a 73-year-old victim, Robert William Hazel, was attacked and knocked unconscious, according to a court document with Redding police. Police said they identified Meagher, who left the scene, in surveillance video and arrested him Sunday.

In this incident, Meagher, 45, is charged with felony assault by force likely to produce serious bodily injury, senior crime abuse and personal influence of major bodily injury. Bailey also charged at this attack being an accessory after the fact.

Pinkney said an anonymous source gave her surveillance videos from the tropics over the weekend, that she posted online In the video, they see a male and female attacker confronting the man as he passes the past with his dog ‘yo.

A few seconds later, the male attacker nailed the man three times to the wall of the building, apparently hitting him unconscious. Then the attackers go as the man lies down with the dog at his feet. Another employer at the bar allegedly performed CPR when the man was found. Police said he was transported to a hospital and later released.

Pinkney said the victim was known in downtown Redding as Old Man Bob and described him as a partially deaf pool player often seen in pants and a dress shirt visiting local bars.

Arriving Monday, Bailey said he had not been contacted by police, and had learned of the allegations in the news with friends. Bailey said he and Meagher confronted the senior because they believed he was mistreating his dog.

“Chris was upset and pushed him against the wall,” he said.

Bailey also discussed the events as described by investigators and Pinkney around the fight at the restaurant and said he received threats based on the incidents.

Shasta County Sheriff’s record indicates Meagher remains in jail Monday on $ 150,000 bail. An arraignment is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

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