Kenneth Tate is a black American who was born in Chicago. Like most blacks in Chicago, he is very supportive of Chicago’s hometown hero, Barack Obama. Imagine how excited he was when he was assigned to accompany Obama during his visit to the CDC offices in Atlanta.
Tate, like many Americans, has struggled through a variety of jobs trying to earn enough money to survive. He’s worked in construction and as a corrections officer, but the best job he ever landed was the one working as a private security officer at the CDC offices in Atlanta. Tate was proud of that job and thankful for the salary he made.
When Obama visited the CDC offices seven weeks ago, Tate was assigned to stay with Obama during the time he was there. Everything was going smoothly during the visit until Obama got into his limo to leave the CDC facility. That’s when Tate pulled out his cell phone and attempted to take a photo of the limo to commemorate his hero’s visit.
That’s when everything went to down the toilet for Tate. As Tate attempted to take the photo, the Secret Service agents got angry and told Tate he was too close to the Beast (an appropriate name for Obama’s limo). They reported the incident to Tate’s superiors who reacted angrily as well. By the end of the day, 47 year old Kenneth Tate was again unemployed.
If that’s not bad enough, the national media got wind of what happened and blew the incident completely out of proportion, further ruining Tate’s reputation and credibility.
Remember the photos of the man reported to be carrying a gun who was in an elevator with Obama? The reports stated that the man not only had a gun but that he was a convicted felon. That was Tate and he was assigned to stay with Obama which included being in the elevator with him.
While in the elevator with Obama, Tate said:
“He acknowledged me, said, ‘How are you doing?’ He said, ‘What’s your name?’ I told him my name, and he extended his hand, shook my hand, and I said it’s a pleasure to meet him. And I proceeded to escort him upstairs.”
After escorting Obama back downstairs to the limo, Tate then tried to take a photo like he has with other visiting big shots like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. After being told to step back away from the limo, Tate said he headed back inside the building and as he did, he passed a Secret Service agent that told him someone was going to lose his job because no one is allowed that close to the limo.
Once inside the building, Tate was escorted into a conference room by his angry supervisors and Secret Service agents who proceeded to interrogate him. They insisted he delete the photos of the limo and then his boss took his CDC ID badge away. A week later, Tate received his letter of termination. He claims that no one as yet has given him an explanation as to the real reason he was fired which is why he has secured the services of attorney Christopher Chestnut.
As for the gun, Tate said that on that particular day, like all other days, he was issued a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson gun along with two loaded clips. Upon receiving his company issued gun, he holstered it on his belt under his suit jacket. No one told him that the Secret Service policy did not allow him to carry a gun while escorting Obama.
As for the reported felony convictions, Tate admitted that he had been arrested for robbery and assault but was never convicted of those crimes or any other crime.
In a recent interview at his attorney’s office, Tate stated:
“From the reports, I was some stranger that entered the elevator. I mean, I was appointed.”
“This was unjust and has been a nightmare.”
The only comment released so far from the Secret Service, CDC or the private security firm that Tate worked for was an email from William Banks, the President of Professional Security which stated only that Tate’s account of what happened was not accurate. The email gave no details as to what was inaccurate, but it did verify that Tate has never been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony.
If it was against Secret Service policy for a private security officer to armed in Obama’s presence, don’t you think they would have informed the CDC of that prior to the visit? From Tate’s account, he’s issued the gun every day when he arrives at work, so his employer or the CDC are the ones that issued him the gun so it sounds like that part of the complaint falls on them not Tate.
If no one is allowed that close to Obama’s limo, then why did any of the Secret Service agents allow Tate to escort him outside the building to where the limo was waiting? If they were doing their jobs, they should have stopped Tate at the appropriate place, thanked him for escorting Obama and then gone on their way.
Basically, this entire nightmare for Tate could have been avoided had the Secret Service informed the CDC about their policies of anyone being armed and no one being allowed near or taking photos of the limo. Had they done that, Tate would still he happily employed and still joyous over the day he met, spoke to and shook hands with Barack Obama.