Man claims he was arrested at gunpoint on Facebook; DPS responds to viral post
WILLIAMS, Ariz. (KSAZ) - A California man's vacation here in Arizona is one he won't soon forget, but not necessarily in a good way.
Kenneth Walton says he was pulled over by a Department of Public Safety trooper near the Grand Canon after the license plates on his rental car came back as stolen -- and it's what happened next that has blown up on social media.
It was supposed to be a memorable trip for Walton and his 7-year-old daughter -- a trip to the Grand Canyon. But before getting there, Walton says something unexpected happened. He was pulled over along Interstate 40.
"I wasn't speeding or doing anything wrong, I thought, so I just turned to her and said don't worry."
Moments later, the DPS trooper, with his gun drawn, approached the vehicle and demanded that he open the passenger side window and according to Walton, that's when he pointed the gun right at his daughter.
"My daughter was trying to help, so she lurched forward out of her booster to try to get to the front seat so open it and he yelled at her and waived his pistol in front of her to stay down and sit down and not move," said Walton.
Frightened and nervous, Walton tried calming his little girl before he was ordered out of the car at gunpoint.
"My hands were in the air and he said stop reaching at your waist or I'll blow two holes in your back," said Walton.
"During that time, our trooper saw him reach or lower his hand to his waist band and he told him do not put your hand in your waist band or I will shoot you," said Capt. Damon Cecil, who says his trooper was unaware that a little girl was in the car at the time.
Cecil says any traffic stop involving a stolen vehicle can be very dangerous.
As it turns out, the rental car agency made a mistake and Walton and his daughter were free to go, but he later took to Facebook to air his displeasure with how DPS handled the situation. It quickly went viral, but DPS says Walton should be angry at the rental car company and not them.
"Mr. Walton has every right to be angry and we support him in his anger, however we just feel he needs to direct it in the right place which this never would have happened if the rental car had removed the plates like they were supposed to," said Cecil.
Walton says he is just looking for an apology from DPS and the rental car company. He says he's still trying to explain to his daughter what exactly happened.