Violent Attack of Elderly Man Prompts Question: Did Same Assailants Assault Nathan Pinkney?

A video that was released Saturday evening on Facebook shows a violent attack upon an elderly man who was walking with a dog outside a Redding bar Friday night.

There are many questions, and just a few answers. What caused the man with the reddish beard to react so violently to the elderly man? What part did the woman play in the assault? Who were the people in the video? Were there witnesses? Most of all, what’s the medical condition of the elderly man who was so forcefully beaten by someone clearly younger and stronger than him that the older man fell to the ground and appeared to never regain consciousness?

Screengrab of surveillance footage captured outside The Tropics bar on South Market Street in Redding Friday night.

The bar’s surveillance video was passed along anonymously to Nathan Pinkney, a Redding comedian and satirist who in turn posted the video Saturday night on his Facebook page, Redding Be Like.

Pinkney, who’s been known by various stage names, including Nathan Blayz,  and Nathan the Creator , had personal reasons for posting the graphic video on Facebook: Pinkney claims that the very couple who assaulted him on May 4 at his former workplace, Market Street Blade & Barrel restaurant, was the same couple seen in the Friday surveillance video in which the older man in a blue shirt ends up requiring CPR from an unidentified good Samaritan.

On Facebook, Pinkney names his two alleged assailants who he says attacked him nearly two months ago: Chris Meagher and Elizabeth Bailey. Likewise, Pinkney says he’s 100 percent certain that these were the same people captured in Friday’s surveillance video attacking the older man outside a Redding bar while the man held his dog’s leash.

Although Pinkney declined to disclose the name of the Redding bar where the Friday-night assault occurred, that information was quickly revealed on Facebook after multiple people recognized and substantiated that the location was in fact The Tropics bar (@reddingtropics Dive Bar), located on South Market Street in Redding.

Photo source: The Tropics Facebook page.

In the video, the man Pinkney claims is Meagher — also known as “Red Red” — wears cargo shorts, a light-colored T-shirt and a hat. That bearded man stands with his back to the parking lot, facing the man, whose dog stands between the men.

In the right side of the video frame a woman stands and looks in the direction of her companion as he exchanges words with the man with the dog. That woman, according to Pinkney, is Elizabeth Bailey, who’s wearing shorts, a dark sleeveless top and is carrying a shoulder bag.

The man in the blue shirt who Pinkney identifies as “Bob” can be seen walking along the same sidewalk outside the bar as the couple. Bob is holding a leash tethered to a medium-sized black dog. Words are exchanged in the soundless video between the man with the beard and the older man with the dog.

The man with the dog is out of camera view for a few seconds along the front of the bar’s exterior wall, and it appears the woman steps in toward the man and the dog and says something. Some viewers on Facebook believed the woman shoved the older man. The woman moves in closer toward the man before turning to leave. That’s when it appears that the man with the reddish beard grabs and slams Bob forcefully against the building at least twice, before Bob falls to the ground.

The couple leaves Bob, who’s unmoving, face up, with the dog near Bob’s splayed legs.

The bearded man’s hand can be seen landing briefly on his female companion’s butt as the couple enters the bar, leaving what appears to be the immobilized man and his dog on the pavement.

A few seconds pass while Bob and his dog are alone. Bob does not appear to be moving.

Some people exit the bar and see Bob. An unidentified man in a cowboy hat lifts Bob’s right wrist and holds it for a few seconds. The man in the cowboy hat gently shakes the older man’s left shoulder, but the collapsed man doesn’t respond.

The man in the cowboy hat begins CPR upon Bob, who still appears unresponsive.

Some people stream from the bar and watch the scene of the kneeling man in the cowboy hat who’s using both hands to firmly compress the chest of the stationary man lying on the ground. An unidentified woman takes the dog by the leash, and leads the dog inside the bar.

Neither the bearded man who assaulted Bob nor the assailant’s female friend are among those who exit the bar to see what’s happened to Bob.

According to Pinkney, Bob was taken to a Redding hospital, although it’s unknown which hospital, or Bob’s condition. Pinkney said he knows little about Bob, other than he’s elderly, is hearing impaired, and is a well-known downtown Redding customer who drives a nice car.

Pinkney cannot  understand why anyone would hurt Bob.

He also feels frustrated that the same individuals who were allegedly involved in his assault have yet to have been charged with the May 4 attack that left him injured and unemployed, as he was fired following the incident.

Because the Redding Police Department hasn’t released the surveillance video of the May 4 attack upon Pinkney, the term “alleged” is used frequently to describe the encounter between Pinkney and Carlos Zapata, the latter of whom took exception to Pinkney’s popular satires that mocked Zapata and his Red White & Blueprint docuseries about the attempted recall of three Shasta County Supervisors.

Prior to Pinkney’s assault, Zapata, who’s renowned for his verbal assaults and threats, made it clear that he planned to show up in person at the Market Street Blade & Barrel restaurant where Pinkney worked.

In subsequent news stories about the assault, Zapata and Pinkney each explained their versions to various media companies, including KRCR, the Redding Record Searchlight and the L.A. Times.  Zapata’s story versions were moving targets, with Zapata saying in one story that he accidentally spilled his drink and some liquid happened to land on Pinkney, but in another story he said he was provoked by Pinkney and threw the drink at Pinkney. Innocent spillage or deliberate act of anger? Zapata can’t keep his stories straight.

Zapata also claimed to not know the people who assaulted Pinkney, which was a stunning statement considering Bailey is employed at Zapata’s Red Bluff restaurant, the Palomino Room.

In Pinkney’s case, his story remained consistent: He was at work, Zapata had threatened to come to his business, which was exactly what Zapata did. Pinkney said Zapata threw a drink at him and left, then returned with Zapata’s Palomino Room employee Bailey, and her friend, Chris “Red Red” Meagher.

Pinkney said Bailey grabbed his shirt, which she ripped in the process. (Ironically, it was a Tropics bar T-shirt.) He said Meagher punched Pinkney in the face.

Fifty-three days have come and gone since that assault. Pinkney has a temporary restraining order against Zapata, who evaded being served for weeks, before finally being served at his daughter’s high school graduation, an avoidable scenario had Zapata simply turned himself in to receive the TRO, rather than throw his daughter under the bus in the name of martyrdom.

Raise your hand if you think that Zapata’s restraining order is enforceable in Shasta County. Seeing no hands, we’ll move along.

After the assault – even after Pinkney filed a temporary restraining order against Zapata – Zapata continued to goad and verbally bully Pinkney on social media. He took a racist angle and called Pinkney, who’s African American, a monkey. Zapata, who owns a Tehama County restaurant and is Facebook friends with Pinkney’s former Market Street Blade & Barrel employer, taunted Pinkney about the likelihood of securing employment. This  dual-purpose message served both as a threat to Pinkney and a suggestion to fellow restauranteurs who might wish to remain in Zapata’s good graces.

Finding no full-time restaurant jobs, Pinkney has resorted to working as a private chef in people’s homes to help make ends meet.

53 days too long

The longer the Redding Police Department takes to release the video of the assault against Nathan Pinkney, the less trust the public has for RPD. The longer the Redding Police takes to release the video of the assault against Nathan Pinkney, the more residents will have reason to wonder if its true that RPD really is taking Zapata’s side, perhaps because he trained some officers at his former jujitsu studio.

The longer the Redding Police Department takes to release the video, the more residents may be inclined to believe that RPD won’t rattle Zapata’s cage because officers are afraid to go up against him and risk the wrath of Zapata’s militia friends.

Fifty-three days is an inexcusably excessive amount of time for the Redding Police Department to have failed to release the restaurant’s surveillance video from the May 4 night of the assault. If it’s true, as RPD has stated, that Pinkney was indeed the victim, then where are the charges against those who victimized him?

If you or I walked into a restaurant, picked up a full glass of any beverage and threw it at someone, would we not be charged with assault? If you or I came into someone’s business, grabbed that person, ripped his shirt and punched him in the face, would we not be arrested for assault? And if you or I had punched someone in the face, then lifted a CO-2 canister above our heads, would those not be considered violent, threatening acts worthy of arrest?

Every day that passes without legal consequences for those who assaulted Pinkney is another day when doubt grows greater in the minds of North State residents about whether we can trust law enforcement to serve and protect us all. Every day that passes without justice for Nathan Pinkney is another day when we wonder whose side law enforcement is really on.

It’s time for the Redding Police Department to do the right thing by Nathan Pinkney, an undisputed victim of assault. It’s time for the Redding Police Department to prove that it believes in justice for all; and that means justice even for comedians and sous chefs and Black Lives Matter advocates like Nathan Pinkney whose greatest crime against Zapata was donning a red flannel shirt and a woman’s rainhat and making fun of Zapata, a self-appointed alt-right extremist leader hell bent on destroying Shasta County as we know it.

The Redding Police Department hasn’t said a peep about potential charges against Zapata, Bailey or Meagher with regard to the May 4 assault, but Pinkney has plenty to say. He says that two of the same people who assaulted him on May 4 were also involved in the assault against Bob Friday night in Redding. Pinkney says this is a fact. Of course, the Redding Police Department is well aware of the facts in both cases. The big question now: What’s RPD going to do with that information?

Let’s hope Bob survives; that he makes a full recovery and lives to safely take his dog on many more walks around downtown Redding.

But God forbid, if Bob doesn’t make it, then the Redding Police Department is culpable for not enforcing laws designed to protect citizens from people with violent proclivities. If Bob doesn’t survive, let’s hope Bob will have justice after his passing, that finally RPD will pursue legal consequences for those who resort to potentially deadly force. How tragic it would be if it took the death of an elderly man visiting a bar with his dog for RPD to finally take action against violent individuals who should have been dealt with 53 days ago.

Even without audio, a video is a powerful piece of evidence that allows us to see with our own eyes what really happened. While we wait for RPD to release the May 4 surveillance footage of Pinkney’s assault, we do have access to the anonymous video given to Pinkney and posted on Redding Be Like of the assault upon the man who was walking and talking at the beginning of the video, and was lying on the ground as a stranger performs CPR on his still body at the end of the video. See for yourself what happens, and draw your own conclusions. That’s all we’re asking with regard to the video from the May 4 assault: a chance to see what really happened and which man’s version of the story was closest to the truth.

The anonymous surveillance video of the violent assault outside the Tropics bar is below.

The title and captions in this video are Pinkney’s. A word of warning that some parts are difficult to watch.

Meanwhile, Pinkney worries about Bob. He wonders how differently things might have turned out for Bob had RPD simply followed through nearly two months ago and charged the people he says victimized him, too.

“If Chris Meagher had been put behind bars for attacking me, he wouldn’t have been able to do that to Bob,” Pinkney said.

“I shouldn’t need to say this.”


Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate. Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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