BOCA RATON, Fla. -- A Pompano Beach man who was Tasered for allegedly trying to fight a cop during a screening of The Expendables 2 said there's one reason why he couldn't have been causing trouble in the theater: he was asleep.
"I was actually kind of drunk and I fell asleep," said Jonathan Zapata, 24, who along with his brother Jose Zapata, 26, was arrested Sunday night at a Boca Raton multiplex after Boca police say the siblings and a few friends became too loud and unruly for other moviegoers.
Jonathan Zapata also said that cell phone video footage taken by his brother shows that he wasn't causing trouble and did not provoke a Tasering. The landscaper also said he did not try to fight Boca Raton police officer Juan Carlos Pijuan, as the officer stated in an arrest report.
Police say otherwise — that Jonathan Zapata was awake enough to tell a theater staffer to "f--- off" for asking him to leave and that he seemed to be itching for a fight.
The cell phone is now in the custody of Boca Raton police, having been seized by police as evidence.
"Clearly it was appropriate to take it — it's evidence of a crime," said Boca Raton police spokeswoman Sandra Boonenberg.
There are different accounts of what happened, depending on who's telling the story.
Police say Jonathan and Jose Zapata were talking loudly and taking pictures with a flash in Theater 6 at the Cinemark Theaters on Airport Road at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday night.
When Pijuan and a theater staffer tried to give the Zapatas and their friends the boot, Jonathan Zapata called the cop a "cracker motherf------ pig," balled his fists and stood with his legs at an angle as if ready to fight.
"Jonathan Zapata took a bladed stance, clenched his fists and held them at his waist and said he would 'f---' me up," Pijuan wrote in the report.
Zapata acknowledged some of the details in the police report but refuted others.
"I called him a pig, I never called him a cracker," he said Monday after he and his brother were released from the Palm Beach County jail. "I know I never took a (fight) stance. I'm not that stupid, to want to fight an officer."
About being disruptive, Jonathan Zapata said that even if his brother and friends were loud, he wasn't because he was asleep by the time the movie had started. He said he woke up when Pijuan shone his flashlight on him and asked him to leave. Zapata said he objected, saying he'd already paid for his ticket to see the film.
According to police, Zapata let the F-bombs fly when Pijuan asked him to leave. Pijuan ultimately drew his Taser and fired it at Zapata, who fell to the ground in a heap, moaning.
"All I remember is the pain," Zapata said. "It's horrible. My whole body is aching."
After the Tasering, Jose Zapata was arrested by another police officer in the theater lobby after allegedly shining the flash from the cell phone camera into Pijuan's eyes. Pjiuan then "knocked the camera out of Jose Zapata's hands" and told him to back up.
Jonathan Zapata that if Boca Raton police need to make a copy of the video, to do so and return the phone.
He also said he is confident that the video will vindicate him but said he understands why some might not believe his word against that of police, especially given the fact he was drunk. He also acknowledged that he was arrested once before, after a bar fight. A public records search of Jonathan Zapata showed that he had been arrested on October 30, 2010 and charged with resisting officer without violence. The charge was dropped.
"It's really hard to beat a case because it's really hard to fight the law," Zapata said. "Sometimes the law takes advantage of its authority."
Boonenberg said the arrest report is credible and that Boca Raton police stand by Pijuan's account.
"We're going to let that speak for itself," Boonenberg said. "We stand by what the officer says."
Jonathan Zapata was charged with one count of trespass after warning, assault on a law enforcement officer and one count of resisting an officer without violence.
Jose Zapata was charged with one count of trespass after warning and one count of resisting arrest without violence.
News researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.
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