A Lucerne Valley man admits barging into a school district office, then handcuffing and abducting the superintendent. But what authorities call a kidnapping, the man insists, was merely a defiant stand against a government that is "out of control."
In his first interview since last week's confrontation, Carl Williams also said he will force prosecutors to take his case to trial.
"I'm going to trust in the jury," Williams said from his home in the high desert of San Bernardino County, where he is free pending trial on a $100,000 bond. "I have to. I made the arrest based on the fact that I trust the law. So I have to trust it now."
Williams, who wrote before the confrontation that school policies are "escorting this generation of children to a one-world government," said he believes the government is bloated and unfettered, so much so that he said the terms "Republican" and "Democrat" don't even begin to describe his politics.
He said he does not have "the mind of a nut," just deeply held beliefs that have left him "steaming mad" about school policies. Last week, he said, he bought a pair of handcuffs--because "the definition of arrest is restraint"--and made what he calls a citizen's arrest of Jim Wheeler, the Lucerne Valley Unified School District interim superintendent.
Investigators say Williams is a criminal who wrongly took the law into his own hands.
They say it is legal in some cases to make a citizen's arrest. If, for example, someone witnesses a purse-snatching, it's legal to detain the thief until police arrive. However, said San Bernardino County Sheriff's Det. Norm Neiman, the school district's "procedures and policies are not criminal activities," and a citizen's arrest was not proper in this case.
Williams, 45, and his wife, Kathy, 48, were accused of kidnapping, burglary and battery after they allegedly stormed the district headquarters last week.
Authorities say they forced their way into Wheeler's office, then followed him out of the building, handcuffed him and forced him into their car. They were en route to the district attorney's office in Victorville when they were stopped by sheriff's deputies and arrested without incident.
The Williamses videotaped the incident, Carl Williams said, to prove to investigators that they never intended to harm Wheeler, merely to prosecute him for crimes they believed had been perpetrated against their family.
Williams declined to discuss his background extensively, but said he is a homemaker and has never worked for a corporation because he refuses to disclose his Social Security number. Kathy Williams, he said, is a registered nurse.
A San Bernardino County judge has since issued restraining orders requiring the Williamses to stay at least 100 yards away from school officials' offices, cars and homes.
According to San Bernardino County sheriff's investigators and court documents, the confrontation was part of a simmering 10-year dispute between the Williamses, who have five children enrolled in the school system, and school officials.
Williams said he has been upset by numerous school policies, refusing, for example, to fill out forms calling for his children's Social Security numbers. In large stacks of documents he has handed to school officials in recent months, he wrote that computerized education records amount to invasion of privacy.
Though parents are allowed to take their children out of public school, Williams said doing so would amount to giving in, and wasting his tax dollars.
"If we're going to fund the party, then we should be allowed to go," he said. "The government is powerful. You can't give them tax dollars and let them run amok."