No Force in Arrest of Gun-Toting Principal

     FRESNO, Calif. (CN) – A junior high school vice principal who was arrested for having a gun on campus despite having a concealed weapons permit must amend some of his claims against the City of Bakersfield and two of its officers, a federal judge ruled.
     U.S. District Judge Jennifer Thurston found that Kent Williams did not allege sufficient facts to support his claims that the officers who confiscated his gun and arrested him had violated his civil rights.
     Williams, vice principal at Tevis Junior High School, sued Bakersfield and officers Verion Coleman and Anthony McCarthy in December, seeking damages on 13 causes of action including assault and battery, excessive force, constitutional violations, conversion, and false arrest.
     Williams, 51, was arrested on Aug. 28 after officials at the Panama Buena Vista Union School District informed a police school resource officer that a staff member had a firearm on campus, according to a police department press release.
     The officers took Williams’ gun and his permit to carry a concealed weapon, and then went to his home and confiscated the rest of his legally registered guns which they have yet to return, Williams says in his complaint.
     Williams claims that his diabetes was exacerbated during the arrest and he required medical care because of the incident. After being held for several hours, he was released and told he had not committed a crime, according to the complaint.
     On Monday, Thurston granted Bakersfield’s request to dismiss Williams’ excessive force, assault, and battery claims, as well as his claims for violations of the Ralph Act and Unruh Act.
     Williams based his excessive-force claim on the facts that the officers arrested him, took him in to custody, touched him, and placed him in the back of the police car.
     “Significantly, however, plaintiff does not allege in the first amended complaint he was placed in handcuffs or ‘forced into the back of a police car.’ There are no facts set forth describing the actions of the officers, including whether the officers touched plaintiff or, if they did, the amount or type of ‘force’ the officers used when taking plaintiff into custody,” Thurston wrote, dismissing this claim.
     The judge also dismissed Williams’ Ralph Act claim alleging that the officers committed acts of violence against him because of his lawful possession of a gun.
     “Those in lawful possession of a gun do not expressly constitute a protected class under the Ralph Act. Moreover, plaintiff has not shown that those who own or possess guns historically have suffered discrimination such that remedial protections should be afforded by the Ralph Act,” Thurston wrote.
     Furthermore, Williams did not identify any specific acts of violence, intimidation or the threat of violence by the officers. He did not claim that the officers drew their weapons or taunted him, nor did he allege that the officers’ actions were motivated by Williams’ choice to possess a gun, Thurston said.
     Similarly, Williams did not present facts to support his claims of assault or battery under California law. The vice principal did not provide evidence to support his allegations that the officers intended to cause him harm, the judge said.
     Williams has 21 days to amend the dismissed claims.
     Attorneys for the parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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