Vice principal sues police for unlawful arrest for gun possession

The vice principal arrested in August for carrying a gun on a Bakersfield, California, campus submitted his resignation to the school board Tuesday after filing a civil suit against the local authorities.

Kent Williams was arrested at Tevis Junior High School on Aug. 28 after police received a tip saying he had a gun on school property. Bakersfield police detained Williams for about six hours but released him after determining that he was, in fact, within his legal right to carry the gun on campus, per California penal code.

While state law generally prohibits having a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, the law exempts law enforcement and concealed carry permit holders. However, individual school districts may have rules against campus carry and Panama-Buena Vista Union School District, which oversees Tevis Junior High, did.

Nonetheless, Williams, who has been on administrative leave since the incident for violating the school’s no weapons policy, isn’t arguing against the school’s prohibition, but rather the complaint claims that he was unlawfully arrested. The suit names the City of Bakersfield and two Bakersfield police officers, as well as unnamed defendants.

Furthermore, the complaint claims that his Second Amendment rights were violated when authorities went into Williams’ home and confiscated his other firearms, which have yet to be returned after almost four months, The Bakersfield Californian reported.

Authorities were originally notified by Assistant Superintendent Gerrie Kincaid after she received an anonymous tip that a staff member was in possession of a gun on campus. When authorities questioned Williams, he was cooperative and admitted to having a gun in his backpack, which was located in his office. He also offered his concealed carry permit at that time. It’s still unknown who phoned in the anonymous tip or how the gun was even discovered in the first place.

Williams, who has been teaching for nearly 30 years, said he wants to remain in education, but feels his presence at the school will only serve as an unnecessary distraction. Williams’ attorney, Daniel Rodriguez, said the resignation has nothing to do with the lawsuit, nor does he expect it to impact the suit in any way. Williams feels the incident has left his otherwise spotless reputation tattered and the damage cannot easily be undone.

The school board accepted Williams’ resignation, which will go into affect June 30.

“In an ideal world, no one would be allowed to carry a gun on any school campus. But, we don’t live in an ideal world,” Rodriguez said.

“We live in a world of Columbines, Sandy Hooks and Taft (Union) High School shootings, where the gunman meets no resistance because the only person with a gun is the gunman bent on harming or killing students and other people at the school,” he continued. “By the time the police arrive, all of the damage has been done.”

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