One of the three Arizona men wielding zip ties in a filmed confrontation with an elementary school principal over the school’s COVID-19 quarantine policy has been cited with trespassing, the Tucson Police Department told TPM.
Rishi Rambaran, a 40-year-old father of a student at the school, was cited after the Thursday incident, TPD Sergeant Richard Gradillas said.
Rambaran, a local coffee shop owner named Kelly Walker, and a third unidentified man had marched into the office of Diane Vargo, the principal of Mesquite Elementary School, after Rambaran’s child who had been exposed to COVID-19 was asked to quarantine in accordance with the Pima County Health Department’s policies. Walker later posted a video of the confrontation on his coffee shop’s Instagram page.
Walker appears to refer to Rambaran as “Reese” in a different Instagram video. Gradillas told TPM the department was unable to provide more information on the case at this time.
Walker’s video of the confrontation shows how the three men went into Vargas’ office equipped with what they called “law enforcement zip ties.”
They accused the principal of “breaking the law” and warned her that they were prepared to carry out a citizen’s arrest “if you insist on this” policy.
“We’re ready to make a citizen’s arrest if necessary,” one of the men told Vargo.
They left before the police arrived at the scene.
Vail Unified School District, which oversees Mesquite Elementary, did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.
The Facebook page for Walker’s coffee shop, Viva Coffee House, shows a post praising the Rambaran as a “hero” and “manly father” in the caption.
Another post on the page said:
Carrying zip ties and asking the police if we can make a citizens’ arrest is mild compared to our Duty to “throw them off.” (No one was “threatened.”)
“We can’t stand by and watch this ridiculous sedition and law-breaking by people who think that they can just ignore the laws of the land,” he said.
View this post on Instagram
No one answered TPM’s phone calls to the coffee shop or responded to emails there. TPM was unable to contact Rambaran.
John Carruth, the school district’s superintendent, told the Post after the incident on Thursday that it was “a tough day.”
“One of the most powerful tools as adults is the behavior that we model to young people,” Carruth said. “And the behavior that was modeled today makes me really sad.”
Walker posted a video he had filmed apparently on his way to the elementary school in which he urged his coffee shop’s Instagram followers to come join him at the showdown.
Correction: This post has been updated to clarify that Rambaran is the parent of the student at the school.