Father says state trooper pointed gun at his daughter

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Caption
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A California father is upset with Arizona police after he said they pointed a gun at his 7-year-old daughter.

KSAZ reported that Kenneth Walton wrote in a now-viral Facebook post that, on an Aug. 11 trip to the Grand Canyon, a DPS trooper pulled him over. Walton said the officer had his gun drawn.

Walton, who rented a car for the trip, was pulled over because the license plate on the vehicle was reported as stolen by mistake.

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"I wasn't speeding or doing anything wrong, I thought, so I just turned to her and said don't worry," Walton told KSAZ.

Walton said the trooper told Walton to open the passenger side window upon approaching the vehicle, pointing the gun 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 waved his pistol in front of her to stay down and sit down and not move," Walton said. "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.

Capt. Damon Cecil of the Arizona Department of Public Safety told The Arizona Republic Walton's story was "exaggerated and inflammatory."

"This was a dangerous situation that could have been avoided altogether if the plate had been switched by the rental company." Cecil said. "We understand Mr. Walton is angry, but to lash out at a trooper who was only doing his job and doing it in a way that he, Mr Walton and his daughter were safest, is inexcusable and wrong."

In a statement, ADPS said Walton "was not responding to officer's commands while seated in his vehicle," prompting the response from the trooper.

"Training and protocols are in place for the safety of the Trooper as well as the safety of citizens," ADPS Capt. Ezekiel Zesiger said in a news release. "Fortunately, the subject in this case was compliant with the trooper and the situation ended peacefully with no one being harmed."