THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4)– A man who was arrested and then cleared for having a gun in a movie theater just days after the Aurora theater shooting in July 2012, is suing the City of Thornton.

James Mapes was arrested for brandishing a weapon in a threatening way. Those charges were dropped but now he wants to clear his name.

Mapes had a booking photo, a record of his arrest and his story made national and international headlines.

“If you get carjacked in the parking lot and you have your firearm home in a safe, it didn’t do you a lot of good,” said Mapes.

Mapes always wears his gun. He didn’t think much of it the night he wanted to watch a movie and visited the Cinebarre in Thornton.

“At the time the only person that noticed it was the guy that ripped the ticket. No one else in the theater even saw it,” said Mapes.

Whoever saw the weapon called police and Mapes was arrested. Although the charges were dropped he believes he’ll never beat the reputation he received from the arrest.

“If I put a resume in at any company they’re going to Google your name and the first thing that comes up is an arrest report and a mug shot and for the average HR employee that’s all it’s going to take,” said Mapes.

Mapes said he wore his gun every time he came to the theater. He was approached by police in the Cinebarre parking lot the night of the Aurora theater shooting without incident.

Mapes’ attorney said Thornton tried to forget the case. He said the city never apologized to Mapes and never tried to publicly set the record straight after making the incident public.

“I don’t think they’ve taken this as seriously as they need to take it. I know they haven’t taken it as seriously as they need to take it,” said Mapes’ attorney Robert Wareham.

Wareham said Thornton will have to pay in a large settlement to make Mapes whole again and stop law-abiding gun owners from being arrested.

The City of Thornton declined to comment on how they will handle the lawsuit.


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