Man claims DPS was overly aggressive during traffic stop after rental vehicle was reported stolen

Posted at 10:26 AM, Aug 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-15 14:44:41-04

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says a man was pulled over in a high-risk stop near Williams, Arizona Thursday after the license plate on his rental car was mistakenly reported stolen.

DPS says the man, identified as Kenneth Walton, was pulled over Thursday around 7:45 p.m.

DPS says the trooper that pulled over Walton drew his gun and ordered Walton out of the car, which is protocol during a high-risk stop. 

Walton claims via a social media post that the trooper was overly aggressive towards him, and threatened to shoot him while he was cooperating with commands.

"I had my hands up fully in the air the whole time and I was trying to slowly comply and suddenly out of the blue he just says, 'get your hand away from your waist or I'll blow two bullets in your back,'" Walton said in a telephone interview Sunday. 

DPS says Walton reached for his waistband at one point and the trooper told him again to keep his hands up. DPS says the trooper told Walton that if he put his hands on his waistband again he would be shot.

Captain Damon Cecil with DPS says the trooper followed protocol and handled the situation the way a high-risk stop was supposed to be handled.

"Most of our traffic stops, we don't know if we've pulled over Mr. and Mrs. Jones who are just on vacation or if we pulled over a guy who just murdered his wife," Capt. Cecil said.

Walton claims the trooper pointed his gun at his young daughter, threatening her. Cecil says the trooper never intended to point his weapon at the girl, and that she was told to sit in her seat, which she did.

"AZ DPS understands and sympathizes with the concerns the family has regarding this situation," says Captain Ezekiel Zesiger, Flagstaff District Commander. "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."

Walton was released when troopers realized that the vehicle was not stolen and continued on with his trip to the Grand Canyon.

"We still had a good time... but, I don't know if we'll be coming back to Arizona any time soon,I'm sorry to say. Gorgeous state, but I'm a little shell shocked," Walton said.