If there’s anything I’ve learned in my years on the Interwebz, it’s that the Internet loves outrage! Outrage goes beyond the old media adage, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Outrage gives people purpose, notoriety, and attention. It’s virtue signalling that provides the veneer of caring for the victim, or helps paint the outraged themselves into a victim. Outrage is everywhere, because it sounds more urgent and interesting than plain anger.
Witness the Trigglypuff phenomenon. That’s what outrage gets you nowadays, no matter how ludicrous. Worldwide attention, some sympathy, and notoriety.
During the past year, we’ve seen outrage at cops. Riots. Black Lives Matter protests against police officers. And yes, even murders. The perpetually outraged have denied police officers service in restaurants and stores, tainted their food, and treated them like pariahs.
Are there bad cops? Yeah. There are criminal cops. There are negligent cops. There are cops who don’t give a shit. There are cops who are paranoid and incompetent. There are cops who are racist as well – just like in any other profession.
There are also police officers who have dedicated their lives to protecting and serving and to working to make their cities and neighborhoods safe for peaceable citizens. They put on a uniform, leave families behind every single day, and go to work knowing full well that they may not return. They kiss their loved ones “goodbye,” with the full understanding that it may be the last time they do so. They could be your neighbors. They could be your friends. They could be your family members.
Many times there is more than one side to one story, and opportunistic swine who seek to manufacture outrage to draw attention to themselves or their causes tend to take advantage of their bully pulpit, their access to social media, their microphones – real and metaphorical – to foment contempt, to pit the populace against police, to arouse rage and foster animosity between the “victims” and those they perceive to be in power.
This sounds like one of those cases.
Dad Pens Harrowing Facebook Post After Cop Points Gun at His 7-year-old!
Yes, it certainly does sound harrowing and outrageous. How could a police officer threaten to shoot a father and his child who were guilty of nothing more than traveling home on vacation! The father details the frightening tale in a lengthy Facebook post in which he recounts how this “particularly aggressive” officer tapped on the rear passenger side window with his pistol, scaring his child, how he wouldn’t listen when the concerned dad tried to explain they were in a rental car and were just coming back from vacation, how he “leered at me down the barrel of his pistol” and pointed his pistol at the child threatening to shoot her, how he threatened to “murder” him.
And of course, there’s the usual “I love you all. I’m thinking of suing.” conclusion.
It certainly does sound like the police officer overreacted, but I did want to see what the other side had to say. It’s only fair to objectively take a look at both sides of the story.
It does appear correct that the officer stopped the vehicle. The license plate on the vehicle had been reported as stolen, and the car rental company had not replaced the vehicle plates when the front plate was reported stolen.
The officer also reports that the dad – identified as Kenneth Walton – “was not responding to officer’s commands while seated in his vehicle so the trooper moved up the passenger-side window and got the occupant’s attention by tapping on the window with his hand. It was at this time the trooper realized there was a child in the car as she sat up into view. Mr. Walton was ordered out of the car and detained in handcuffs while the trooper conducted his investigation.”
I can see why he ordered Walton out of the car. Last thing you want is for anything to escalate in close quarters when there’s a child in the back seat. It made sense to immobilize the potential criminal while you figure out what the hell is going on.
Especially during a high risk stop, in a high-trafficked area!
Yes, it does appear the officer was being risk-averse until he concluded his investigation of the situation, and he probably was aggressive and more than a bit frightened, given that it was night time, and the stop took place on a road known for drug trafficking and other shit. That said, once he concluded that the vehicle wasn’t stolen, that the rental company simply forgot to replace the plates, he released Walton, who by all accounts was cooperative.
“AZ DPS understands and sympathizes with the concerns the family has regarding this situation,” says Captain Ezekiel Zesiger, Flagstaff District Commander. “Anytime a police contact is made for a possibly stolen vehicle our troopers are trained to take all necessary precautions. In this instance, the vehicle’s license plate was reported as stolen. Troopers must adhere to their training in regards to conducting a high risk traffic stop in these types of situations. Training and protocols are in place for the safety of the Trooper as well as the safety of citizens. Fortunately, the subject in this case was compliant with the trooper and the situation ended peacefully with no one being harmed.”
It was a tense situation for all involved. Both the officer and Walton, I’m sure, were nervous – both with good reason. Other officers were at the scene, and by Walton’s own admission, were comforting his daughter while the investigation was going on. Of course, she was nervous! There were bright lights and a bunch of nervous police officers. It was dark, and her father was nervous.
But all’s well that ends well. Walton got the name and badge number of the officer, as well as the name of his supervisor. He admits the entire ordeal lasted only a few minutes until the mystery of the stolen license plate was solved. And once released, he was on his way to the rest of his vacation.
Shitty situation, to be sure, but ultimately resolved peaceably.
But Walton is apparently one of those opportunists who can’t let a situation go without using it to advance his cause.
The first thing he does is screech that his story NEEDS TO BE SHARED! SHARE IT! NOW!
Second, he recounts the story, and inserts a bit of his own editorializing – assessments that have no basis in fact.
He was in the back of the car, detained and immobilized, and he personally heard the dispatcher tell the police officer that the man he had in the back of his vehicle was not a suspect. He was released after that revelation.
And yet, he claims to know the state of mind of the officer, whom he assesses to have been out of control.
He admits in another post that he “relied on my daughter’s recollection of the officer knocking on the window with his weapon. If it was his wedding ring, it was very loud. It caught me by surprise and I turned to see the gun just inches from her window, so it appeared he’d used it to rap on the window, but my daughter’s recollection could be wrong. I’m not sure if this part really matters.”
So the claim that the officer “pointed the gun” at his child was based on the recollection of a terrified 7-year-old, and he believed it, because the officer knocked really loudly! Got it.
He also claims that the only reason he’s still alive is because he’s a white guy.
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.
I guess Walton is a mind reader? A psychiatrist?
No. Definitely not a shrink or a psychic. But he is a criminal and a thief, who apparently is looking to cash in on the outrage he manufactured.
On April 28, 2000 he posted an auction on eBay for an oil painting that attracted a closing bid of US$135,805 and which bidders speculated might be a work by Richard Diebenkorn due to its resemblance to the artist’s work, the existence of the monogram “RD52” on the canvas, and the fact that the seller claimed to have found it at a garage sale in Berkeley, California, where Diebenkorn had lived. In the description accompanying the auction, Walton seemed to have no knowledge of art and claimed to have no idea of the painting’s value. The auction generated international headlines and, after a series of investigative reports by Judith H. Dobrzynski in the New York Times revealed that Walton was in fact an experienced art seller who had sold several forged paintings and worked with other sellers who bid on each other’s items, Walton was banned from eBay, and the FBI launched an investigation into his trading activities.
He’s already asking people on social media to help him research the disposition of a civil rights violation case.
He’s got thousands of BLM supporters egging him on in the original post, propping up their own agenda with hackneyed BLM shibboleths. After all, if you don’t wallow in your own white privilege, you won’t get nearly as much support, now will you?
Everything about this screams “OPPORTUNISTIC SWINE TRYING TO PROFIT FROM A SUIT!”
Let’s hope the justice system gives Walton the finger for manufacturing outrage, using his daughter’s fear, and the BLM movement agitprop and stirring shit up in an environment where relations between the races and between the police and citizens are already wrought with tension.