Woody Clendenen, leader of the self-described Cottonwood “militia”, is among those calling on local residents to protest the Shasta County District Attorney on July 7.
In a post on Facebook, Clendenen wrote that the protest action was in response to recent charges filed by the DA’s office against fellow “militia” member and local business man Carlos Zapata, who was allegedly involved in the assault of a local BLM activist and satirist, Nathan Pinkney, several months ago.
Clendenen said in his post the DA had “taken up the case against” Zapata despite police statements “clarifying his innocence.” Clendenen appears to have been referencing a news release by Redding police about the incident which has been confirmed to be inaccurate but has not been updated or corrected.
RPD’s Captain Jon Poletski, who signed off on the inaccurate release, told local media in response to LA Times reporting about the news release, that the concerns about errors were “political bluster” and that the news release was not incorrect but “left out some details.”
Under a California Public Records Act Request, Shasta Scout obtained copies of email communications between Poletski and LA Times reporter Anita Chabria. Poletski confirms one of the significant inaccuracies via email, that the incident actually occurred inside Pinkney’s workplace, not at a second business as stated in the news release.
Questions about other reported inaccuracies in the news release were asked by Chabria but not responded to by Poletski in the emails Shasta Scout received. Chabria responded to a request for comment with this statement:
“The Los Angeles Times stands by its reporting. In investigating the Shasta recall and associated events and people, my reporting found that some details in the press release put out by Redding police describing an altercation at a local restaurant did not match information provided later by police. Our reporting included speaking to multiple witnesses and participants in the altercation.”
Recent Facebook comments on the inaccurate RPD news release, which has been shared over two hundred times and led to several local media stories, repeatedly ask for corrections to the release but no updates have yet been made. RPD Chief Bill Schueller and City Manager Barry Tippin did not respond to requests for comment over a week ago on why the news release has not been corrected.
In calling for protest against the DA, self-described “militia” leader Clendenen also cites concerns about visits recall organizers say they have received at their homes by investigators from the Shasta County DA’s office. He wrote that the DA is “caving to political pressure probably from other supervisors” and “using her position to intimidate recall supporters.”
“As members of the county, we should be fearful of a public figure in a position of power succumbing to biased and unconstitutional pressure from others in Shasta County leadership,” Clendenen wrote. “Let’s keep draining our own swamp from corrupt leadership by taking action now.”
Red, White and Blueprint organizers have released a statement similar to Clendenen’s. Red, White and Blueprint is a TV docuseries, described as a “blueprint for freedom,” focusing on the Shasta County recall. Its organizers are one of three groups involved in the recall effort who are being investigated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for alleged campaign violations.
The RW&B statement and call to protest said Zapata is being “targeted” by the Shasta County DA “in retaliation for his courage and willingness to hold our county supervisors accountable for their mismanagement and ineffectiveness.” Their post, which has been shared over 400 times in the last few days, also accused the DA’s office of doing “anything they can to intimidate those who are pushing for change in this broken system.”
In addition to calls for a protest at the DA’s office, Red, White and Blueprint organizers have also called for peaceful protest at the Shasta County Courthouse during Zapata’s scheduled arraignment on July 12.
The first protest is scheduled for 5 pm, Wednesday, July 7, at the Shasta County District Attorney’s office.