A man who was arrested for carrying a holstered handgun into a movie theater a week after the Aurora shootings in 2012 received a $25,000 settlement check from the city of Thornton last week,according to Denver’s 7News.
Jim Mapes had a concealed carry permit and said he’d carried his gun to the same theater several times in the past. Another theater-goer called 911, saying a man with a weapon had just entered a movie theater. He was originally charged with brandishing the weapon, which Mapes denied.
“It never left my holster,” he told the station. And although the gun was carried openly rather than being concealed, his lawyer said that’s never been against the law in Thornton.
Mapes told Denver’s Fox 31 that he was in the same Thornton theater watching “The Dark Knight Rises” on the night James Holmes opened fire in an Aurora theater across town, killing 12 people and injuring at least 70. He had his gun that night too. Police questioned him, but didn’t arrest him.
“They had me covered, officers behind and on the sides,” he told the station at the time. “Two hundred people in the parking lot but no screaming, no yelling, no scaring the crap out of everybody.”
A week later, the police response was much different, with Mapes saying the police overreacted because of the shooting the week before.
“So where was the problem that they needed to respond in this manner?” he said. “Just this general perceived thing from the shooting the week before.”
His attorney told 7News that the Aurora shooting was no excuse for arresting law-abiding gun owners.
“Coloradans, with the exception of Denver, have had the right to openly carry firearms since 1865,” attorney Robert Wareham said. “We don’t take and use the mood of the moment to take way people’s rights.”
The city eventually dropped the charge, but Mapes sued.
The city settled for $25,000, but admitted no wrongdoing. Wareham said the check itself was evidence that Mapes’ arrest was unwarranted.
“They got to apologize to him in the form of a nice, healthy check,” he told 7News.