A Marine vet who wore a black tactical vest -what the local media is calling a ‘bullet proof vest” to the movies is speaking out about the incident that landed him in jail for five days.
John Casiday spent this past weekend behind bars, after a scare at the Cinemark 14 movie theater in Redding, California Friday night. Frightened movie goers called police when they saw Casiday wearing a “bulletproof vest”.
Tuesday, the Iraq war vet pleaded not guilty at his arraignment inside a Shasta County courtroom. Casiday was actually arrested for obstructing an officer and carrying a concealed dagger– a misdemeanor.
“When this came on the news the other night I looked at this and I told my wife ‘If this guy calls me I’m going to represent him for free,'” attorney John Kucera said.
Kucera wasn’t the only one who was moved by the story. More than a dozen people showed up outside the court house to show their support for Casiday this week – including his brother-in-law, Sean Merritt.
“They put their lives on the line for all of us,” Merritt said. “They deserve our thanks, they deserve our respect.”
Casiday suffers from PTSD. He did two tours in Iraq with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, and says he has a hard time going out in public now.
“I check my corners, my shadows, I look behind me,” Casiday explained. “I don’t trust people,” he said. “I don’t like people well honestly the world’s going crazy.”
He told KRCR-TV that he doesn’t blame the movie goers for what happened – although he believes the whole incident was blown out of proportion.
Casiday is now hoping to change how people view protective gear. “Cops are not the only ones that can do that and have the right to protect themselves…we all do. So I want to freely express that and do it.”
Casiday is due back in court next month for a settlement conference to determine if his case will go to trial.
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