ATLANTA (AP) — A security guard fired after President Barack Obama’s trip to Atlanta said Monday that he lost his job because he snapped a picture of the presidential motorcade to send to his mother and is humiliated by news reports wrongly claiming he’s a convicted felon.

Kenneth Tate, 49, worked as a guard for Professional Security Corp., a security contractor at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. As part of his job duties, he carried a concealed .40-caliber handgun issued to him daily by his employer.

He rode in an elevator with Obama during the president’s Sept. 16 visit to the CDC, though the U.S. Secret Service was apparently unaware that Tate was armed. That incident was publicly revealed after a man scaled the White House fence and entered the building. Those security breaches and other embarrassments led to the Oct. 1 resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson.

Tate said the affair cost him his livelihood and his reputation.

“This is a nightmare. My whole life (has) been changed upside down,” Tate said. “I’m trying to figure out which way to go. How do you go anywhere when it seems like the door has been closed on you? Your reputation (has) been tarnished. The embarrassment.”

The Washington Post initially reported that Tate had been convicted of crimes, but subsequently corrected the claim. The Associated Press has found no evidence of a conviction against Tate.

The office of Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who has helped lead Congress’ investigation into the Secret Service, said a whistleblower had provided him with the same information the Post initially reported.

The president of Professional Security Corp., William Banks, told The New York Times that Tate did not have any felony or misdemeanor convictions. The Times first reported Tate’s version of events.

Banks did not return multiple calls from the AP seeking comment.

Tate said he was twice charged with misdemeanor offenses in the 1990s, but he was never convicted. One incident involved an argument with a girlfriend who is now his wife. Tate said the second incident resulted from a dispute over how his sister was treating a newborn baby. Tate said he was later awarded custody of the child. His employer knew about that history, and it was also vetted by a Georgia state agency that licenses security guards.

Tate said he never hid the fact that he was armed, and no one in the Secret Service asked. His employer gave him a gun at the start of every workday, and his license to carry is documented in an Internet database available for public inspection.

CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds confirmed Tate worked as a security guard at the agency’s campus, and she said CDC officials requested that Tate’s employer reassign him after Obama’s visit. She would not comment on why the agency made that request. U.S. Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback declined to discuss Tate’s description of events.

The day of the visit, supervisors called Tate into the CDC’s security office and told him he would be escorting the president, he said. He said he helped CDC and Secret Service agents test the elevator that Obama would ride and accompanied security officials on building walkthroughs. Obama made small talk with Tate in the elevator, the guard said.

“He acknowledged me,” Tate said. “He asked me what my name was. And he extended his hand and shook my hand. I thanked him and said I was proud.”

As Obama was departing, Tate walked out the front of the building with his cellphone to take a picture of the presidential motorcade, he said. A Secret Service agent waved him away, and he was later confronted by an agent and bosses. He said he admitted taking a photograph but did not know the area around the limousine was off-limits.

“I just tried to get a picture for my mom, she’s 81 years old, just to show that I had met the president, some memorabilia for her,” he said. “… When I got back, the agent stated that somebody was going to lose their job because no one ever got that close to the motorcade. But I didn’t know it was going to be me.”

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(Photo Source: AP)

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14 thoughts on “Security Guard Fired After Riding On Elevator With POTUS, Says: I’m Not A Convict

  1. Monica on said:

    I’m still trying to figure out what he did wrong. His boss told him to escort the President, his boss issued him the weapon as he does every day. He escorted the President with the Secret Service, the Secret Service did not check him or ask if he had a weapon. He clearly was no threat to the President and then he took a picture of the motorcade. What exactly did he do wrong?

    • seriously on said:

      That is the problem with Mr. Tate and people of your mindset…You cannot get close to the president’s motorcade…That would be like someone jumping the white house fence to take a picture of the President walking across the lawn and do not understand why the security dogs are attacking them or the secret service is shooting at them…I am a willing to bet money that Mr. Tate’s boss did not tell him to approach the president’s motorcade and snap a photo. His boss should have told him not to approach the president’ s motorcade, of course common sense should have told him as well…As I am sure that was not part of his security detail…At best his beef is with his boss, his boss could have went with a reprimand verbal or written or even suspension…So perhaps there is more to the story that involves Mr. Tate than anyone else.

  2. Secondhand,secret-service

    The breach of security by the s.s.
    Is a breach of Black America’s trust
    An obamanation of protocol becuz
    They really don’t care about us…

    Copyright 2014
    All rights reserved

  3. Was he fired for getting to close to the motorcade, or for carrying a weapon while escorting the president? As security, isn’t he supposed to be armed if he’s escorting the president? Why would he need to accompany the president if the secret service is accompanying him?

  4. This very sad, that this man, and his son lost their jobs. When are black folk going to realize, that they got played by Obama, only time Obama, and his wife address black folks, is when they need the black vote. Obama, could have this man reinstate, but, he’s not going to.

    • seriously on said:

      When are black folks going to learn to stop expecting others black folks to save them, when are other blacks folks going to learn to respect one another…If this man would have done his job correctly he would not been fired…It is the secret service job to protect the president and I am sure his job did not include taking pictures of the president or approaching his motorcade. Why is president Obama responsible for all the ills of black America. What was you doing before he became president? This man unfortunately made an stupid and unprofessional move and it cost him his job….Not to mention although never convicted of a crime….he does has multiple arrests record. When will black folks learn to stop being a burden to each other and make better choices? Now, that is a question worth asking….

      • Come to think of it, I have never seen a member of the President’s security team or anyone else around him attempting to take photos of him while working.

      • seriously on said:

        Why do you need to project your intelligence level on everyone else? Just because you are ignorant and uniformed does mean everyone else is? So your method is make your ignorance and stupidity everyone else’s fault to prove what…you are not really stupid it is everyone else? LOL, you are funnyLOL

      • seriously on said:

        So what is the clue that you think we have overlooked? Let see, you do not respond to the article you decided to attack other about some clue that you do not seem have…You invoke Lord/God and pray LOL….you must be from the south?

  5. seriously on said:

    But you did do something wrong Mr. Tate, you were not supposed to be in the elevator without the secret service and you cannot approach the President’s car…you are lucky they did not shoot you because that also is the consequences of approaching the President’s motorcade…Now, you can and should sue the people calling you an convict…although you do have an multiple arrest record or sue your employer who should have told you, you must accompany the President with the secret service and the secret service has to approve you as an escort.

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