Jonathan Zapata and his brother Jose Zapata, of Pompano Beach, Florida were arrested Sunday night after movie theater staff and arresting officers accused them of creating a disturbance and refused to leave the theater. Jonathan Zapata, 24, was charged with a single count each of trespass after warning, assault on a law enforcement officer, and resisting and officer without violence. Jose Zapata, 26, was handed the same charges, except for the assault on a law enforcement officer charge. Both brothers were booked into the Palm Beach County jail, but have since been released. It is not yet known whether the defendants have retained a private criminal defense lawyer.
Reports say the incident of alleged violence began Sunday night, when the two brothers and a few of their friends went to the Cinemark Theaters on Airport Road to watch “The Expendables 2.” Jonathan Zapata, who later admitted to officers that he was drunk at the time, fell asleep shortly before the film started, sources say. According to police reports, that is when his brother and their friends began to create a disturbance – speaking noisily and snapping pictures with the flash on. When theater staff asked the group to leave, they allegedly refused and the staff called police.
After an officer from the Boca Raton police department arrived and asked the group to exit the premises, the group allegedly continued to refuse and even became defensive. According to the officer, when they told Zapata and his brother to leave, Zapata verbally insulted the cop and assumed a fighting stance. “Jonathan Zapata took a bladed stance, clenched his fists, held them at his waist and said he would ‘f***’ me up,” the officer wrote in his report.
When Zapata allegedly started to swear, the officer made the decision to Taser him, the report says. “All I remember is the pain,” Zapata reported, recalling the Tasering, “It’s horrible. My whole body is aching.” The officer arrested Zapata afterwards. His brother, who reportedly shone a light from his cell phone in the officer’s eyes while he was arresting Zapata, was taken into police custody as well.
Zapata has refuted the claims against him and has been telling news sources that video recorded on his brother’s cell phone will vindicate him. According to him, he was asleep during the entire disturbance and resulting arrest. According to him, some of the officer’s allegations are true, but others are just lies. “I know I never took a [fighting] stance. I’m not that stupid, to want to fight an officer,” he told reporters.
The video evidence, Zapata says, will show that he never did enough to provoke the Tasering. However, the cell phone containing the footage was confiscated by the arresting officers. A spokesperson from the police department said that the officers were warranted in the confiscation because the phone contained evidence of the crime. Zapata told reporters that officers should copy the video and return the phone.
If Zapata’s claims prove true, the arresting officer may face an internal investigation by the department; however, a spokesperson from the department said the arrest is credible. “We’re going to let that speak for itself,” she said. “We stand by what the officer says.”