Eleven-year old arrested, cuffed for threatening stick-figure drawing: Police stand by actions
Denverites take school-related threats seriously, since we know warning signs associated with the Columbine killers were overlooked until it was too late. But even taking that into consideration, wasn't it excessive for officers to arrest, handcuff and charge an eleven-year old for a stick-figure drawing featuring the words "Teachers, they must die"? Police say "no."
The story, first shared by Fox31, involves a boy referred to as "Tim," who's being treated for attention deficit disorder. His therapist reportedly told him to draw pictures when he became angry, and he did just that at school in October. His sketch featured four stick figures, one gun and the previously mentioned four words.
Before Tim could discard this sketch, his teacher spotted it and shipped him to the principal's office. He was subsequently sent back to class, but that evening, Arvada Police officers showed up at the family's home. They arrested and handcuffed Tim, then took him to the police station in a patrol vehicle -- his mom offered to drive but was refused -- where he was fingerprinted and put in a cell for a short time.
In the end, Tim was charged with a third-degree juvenile misdemeanor: interfering with staff and students at an educational facility. He's currently on probation, and if he stays on the right side of the law, the offense will be stricken from his record. But that's little comfort to his parents, who say they've spent thousands of dollars to deal with the matter.
The police department's response? Here's what spokeswoman Susan Medina told Westword.
"I can't release a lot of the details about the case itself, just because of the nature of the incident, which involves a juvenile," Medina says. "But in looking at this situation, we feel the officer who responded, as well as his supervisor, who was at the scene, acted appropriately -- within our protocol."
Following the arrest, and a call to the department from Tim's mother, Medina goes on, "we conducted a thorough internal investigation of the actions of the officers. And we determined that they performed the arrest in the manner of our policies and procedures."
Look below to see Fox31's latest report on the case.
More from our News archive: "Jacob Christenson, age 11, facing arson trial in Parker over fire that 'just happened.'"
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.