An innocent man was mistakenly pulled over by an Arizona State Trooper and threatened to be shot in the back in front of his daughter.
Recently, True Activist enlightened readers on the various reasons police officers in the U.S. kill more people per day than cops in Norway have in the past decade. In addition to undergoing drastically less time in training, cops in the U.S. are not educated on how to de-escalate situations. Instead, they enter situations with defensive, fear-based mentalities and, as was witnessed in the case of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, oftentimes end up hurting more people than helping.
Recently, the world was presented with another example of this.
A man named Ken Walton was driving around in a rental car with his 7-year-old daughter when an Arizona State Trooper pulled him over. The Facebook post he shared relays that without warning, the situation quickly escalated.
“Tonight, I was arrested at gunpoint by an Arizona highway patrol officer who threatened to shoot me in the back (twice) in front of my 7-year-old daughter. For a moment, I was certain he was going to kill me for no reason. I’m alive, and I need to share the story. PLEASE SHARE IT, because I have an important reason for staying up past 1 a.m. to write it down.”
The pair was pulled over in Williams, Arizona. Walton thought the reason the officer stopped him was because of a “broken taillight or something,” or perhaps because he had been speeding.
When the State Trooper approached the vehicle, however, he didn’t introduce himself or explain the reasoning behind being stopped. Instead, he pointed the barrel of a gun at the rear passenger side window where Walton’s daughter was sitting. He then demanded that the front driver seat window be opened, a task Walton was having trouble with because they were in a rental car. He explains that the State Trooper screamed at the young girl not to move as she reached forward to help roll down the front window.
What happened next is frightening. Walton relays:
“Somehow I was able to get the window down, and then the officer ordered me to exit the car with my hands up. I did so slowly and with my hands raised as high in the air as possible, and as he came around to the driver’s side of the car he screamed at me to face away from him, as if I were doing something wrong. (I didn’t know this was the protocol for being arrested at gunpoint.) Then, as I had my hands in the air, he yelled, at the top of his lungs, in a voice I will never forget, as my daughter looked on in terror, “Get your hands away from your waist or I’ll blow two holes through your back right now!”
My hands were high in the air as he said this, and I was not in any way reaching for my waist. I was utterly terrified. I’ve heard stories of police yelling out false things like this before they unjustifiably attack someone as a way to justify the attack, and I thought this was what was happening to me. I braced for bullets to hit me and all I could think of was my daughter having to watch it happen and being left alone on the side of the highway with an insane, violent cop.
The bullets didn’t arrive, though. I followed every order of the officer as slowly and deliberately as I could, very slowly backed toward him, got to my knees, was placed in handcuffs, and was thrown inside the back of his car. By this time many more officers has arrived, and I could see a couple of them talking to my daughter.”
After a few minutes, it was revealed to Walton that the cop had mistakenly arrested him. Reportedly, a car rental company reported that the car had its front license plate lost or stolen. When the cop ran the car’s license plates, he misinterpreted the Nevada DMV’s report to mean that the car being driven had a stolen license plate.
Still, does that justify Walton being approached at gunpoint and threatened to be killed in front of his little girl?
“After a few minutes he released me from the handcuffs, and since I knew the truth, I called him out for over-reacting, and told him he had no reason to threaten to shoot me. He stood by his story that I had made a threatening movement toward my waist, and I said it wasn’t true, and he said this wasn’t the place to discuss it. He let me go attend to my daughter but continued to “detain” us for another 20 minutes as he talked to his supervisors, presumably plotting damage control,” Walton wrote.
After obtaining the State Trooper’s number and his supervisor’s contact information, Walton left the scene. Understandably, he and his daughter were shaken by the event. The activist explains that it’s important this story be shared to raise awareness about the out-of-control issue of police brutality in the United States. Many – though not all – officers are abusing their power and putting civilians in danger.
“I’m not sure why I’m writing all this down. Maybe it’s because, as I sat in that back of that police car and heard the AHP officer learn the truth from his dispatcher – that the man he’d just captured at gunpoint and threatened to murder was totally innocent – I realized it was very possible that the only reason I was alive was because I am a scrawny 48-year-old white man wearing a Micky Mouse t-shirt and cargo shorts and hiking boots. The officer that arrested me was so pumped up on adrenaline and eager to get a “bad guy” that he could barely control himself, and if I’d looked just a little bit more threatening to him – because I was black, or young, or long-haired, or tattooed, or didn’t speak English – I believe he might have pulled the trigger.”
While Walton may take legal action, he is presently dealing with the aftermath of the ordeal and deciding his next steps. He has some wise advice to pass on to observers, however:
“If you are a person who has ever looked skeptically at the claims of Black Lives Matter, or others who talk about police violence, I urge you to consider what happened to me and put yourselves in the shoes of others. I just survived a bizarre gunpoint situation in which I was as innocent as Philando Castile, who was not as lucky as I was. We live in a society where anywhere and everyone can have a gun at any time, and police are responding with fear in dangerous ways. I got lucky tonight. My daughter and I made it to the Grand Canyon and I’m going to try to salvage what’s left of our vacation. Many others – because of the color of their skin or the way they look or because of simple bad luck – did not meet the same fate.”
Following is his Facebook post:
Tonight, I was arrested at gunpoint by an Arizona highway patrol officer who threatened to shoot me in the back (twice)…
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