Deprived of popcorn at movie theater, Tennessee man assaults cop

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE (Reuters) - A 50-year-old Tennessee man was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct after he could not buy the popcorn he wanted while attending a movie, police said on Tuesday.

Paul West, of Clarksville, Tennessee, was charged with throwing an empty popcorn container at a theater employee and then punching and trying to bite the police officer who responded to the scene at 11:30 p.m. local time on Monday, Clarksville, Tennessee, Police spokesman Jim Knoll said by telephone.

"I haven't ever had anybody upset over popcorn," said Knoll, a civilian employee who previously worked 22 years on the Clarksville police force. The town is 45 miles northwest of Nashville.

Police said in a statement that they responded to a report of "a man who was irate because the theater's concession stand was closed and they would not sell him popcorn.”

West took an empty popcorn container from the trash and demanded a refill, police said. After staff refused to fill the container, he threw it at the employee, knocked over a display and disappeared into a theater, police said.

Officer Jennifer Renken responded to the complaint, saw the damage West caused, found him in the theater and attempted to detain him, at which point West threw a trash can at her and punched her several times in the face. He also tried to bite Renken, police said.

Renken suffered minor injuries in the altercation.

West was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, aggravated assault and resisting on Tuesday morning during his arraignment, Montgomery County court officials said. He was held in Montgomery County Jail on $22,500 bond and there was no record of an attorney assigned to him.

Officials did not identify what movie West had attended.

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni, Editing by Ben Klayman and Dan Grebler)