All three men who barged into an Arizona elementary school principal’s office and threatened to arrest her with zip ties after she followed county-set COVID-19 protocols have been arrested and charged with trespassing.
Rishi Rambaran, 40, confronted Diane Vargo, principal of Mesquite Elementary School, after she told his son to quarantine following a COVID-19 exposure in the school.
Kelly Walker, 51, filmed the scene and shared it in a since-deleted Instagram post and Frank Tainatongo, 58, followed behind with military-grade black zip ties.
Rambaran was cited and released on a third-degree charge of criminal trespassing a few hours after the event.
Meanwhile, Tainatongo and Walker were arrested with the same charge on Monday.
If convicted, all three face up to 30 days in jail.
While Rambaran has a child in the school, Walker has no distinct connections to the district and reportedly homeschools his own five children, according to the Daily Beast.
It is not clear if Tainatongo has any connection to the school or what his relationship is with the two other men.
Walker defended their actions in a Facebook post last Thursday, which reads, ‘When this kind of coercion and bullying is perpetrated by school administrators, breaking the law, a citizens’ arrest is an option worth looking into.’
The post adds, ‘If it’s legal, then parents have the right to consider it. No one threatened to arrest these admins, but the father asked the police to. The truth will come out, but don’t expect anything but spin from the ‘media.’ ‘
According to Tucson Police Spokesman Richard Gradillas, citizens’ arrests are extremely rare, and he has never seen one carried out in his 14 years on the job.
Vargo told a NBC News that she and her assistant were both planning to press charges against the men, in addition to seeking restraining orders.
In an interview with KOLD.com , she said she received a death threat immediately after the encounter. She read the disturbing email on camera, which reads, ‘The next time it will be a barrel pointed at your Nazi face.’
It continues, ‘Following the guidance you say? The Nazis were just following orders too. Guess we will have to see what side you choose. The Americans or the Nazis. Remember, Tucson is a small community and you have a target on your back for enforcing unlawful orders.’
It’s unclear who sent the email.