On a drive to the Grand Canyon, a man is almost shot by police in front of his daughter
A California man learned what it’s like to be scared of the cops when he was driving through Arizona with his 7-year-old daughter and a particularly aggressive policeman pulled him over and allegedly threatened to shoot him while also allegedly pointing his gun at the child.
A police officer allegedly pointing a gun at a 7-year-old. Let that sink in.
In a post on his Facebook page, Ken Walton wrote, “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.”
Walton was pulled over in Arizona after a police officer misinterpreted a DMV report about a rental car that was reported stolen, and the officer wasn’t taking any chances, brandishing his gun, ordering Walton out of the car with his hands in the air, and terrifying Walton’s daughter, sitting in the back seat.
“…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.”
It wasn’t enough that the officer allegedly threatened to shoot Walton. He also terrified his child. “My daughter panicked and tried to get out of her booster seat to reach forward to roll down the front window, and the officer screamed her at her not to move as he pointed his pistol at her.”
The father, who was eventually cleared and allowed to complete his drive to the famous landmark, details his fear and expresses exactly how the recent atmosphere of violence infected his thinking.
“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…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.”
A San Francisco native on the way to the Grand Canyon with his daughter, Walton explains how lucky he got, and, perhaps, why.
“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…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.”
The experience gave him a newfound appreciation for what oft-victimized black people and other disproportionately targeted minorities go through when interacting with law enforcement.
“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.”
Barely a day seems to go by without a cop shooting – or being shot – by someone, and in such an environment it’s understandable that police officers are on edge. It’s a shame that it’s come to this, that the people meant to protect us are so scared they end up endangering innocent people.
But it’s also a shame that it took such a terrifying experience for some of us to finally appreciate and have empathy for people who face this kind of victimization – and much worse, as they often don’t get to continue their days, or their lives – on a daily basis.