A mother is calling out local police for the arrest of her 10-year-old son and his friend for pointing toy guns at passing cars. Gavin Carpenter of Colorado Springs was taken into custody along with a friend last July after a driver reported the boys pointing their toy weapons at traffic to police.
Gavin’s mother, Stefanie Carpenter, recently shared to Facebook a picture of her son being led into the police department in handcuffs. The post recounts the Carpenter family’s efforts to have a Class 5 felony charge of Menacing expunged from Gavin’s record, a process his mother says took 217 days.
“We waited to tell our story until now because we had to wait until this was expunged from his record,” Carpenter wrote in her Facebook post. “The less people that knew the better until this nightmare was officially over.”
The Arrest in Question
On July 24 last year, Gavin Carpenter was visiting the house of his friend’s grandparents, with plans to travel to the friend’s house afterward for a sleepover. In the meantime, the boys passed the time by playing with a Nerf gun and fake rifle.
“The toy bow was an orange Nerf bow. It didn’t work. Nothing could shoot out of it. Nothing would come out of it,” Gavin told FOX21 news. “The weapon, well, toy I had, had an orange tip. It was also broken and couldn’t shoot anything out of it.”
Gavin and his friend reportedly pointed the toys at several cars before one stopped. “He definitely admits that he pointed the weapons at cars, multiple, cars, not just the one that stopped, and he understands that’s wrong,” Gavin’s father, Christopher, said, according to KOAA News in Colorado.
“He slammed his brakes and started reversing as fast as he could,” Gavin said to FOX21. The driver can be seen in a doorbell cam video angrily threatening to call the police. “He came up and started getting very heated and was very mad. I was at the time, very scared.”
The motorist called the police, who arrested Gavin and his friend before Gavin’s parents arrived on the scene. “I’ve never felt so helpless in my life,” Stefanie Carpenter said, according to KOAA. “I would have never pictured my son in the back of a cop car with his hands behind his back. He was bawling.”
Fighting the Charges
Gavin’s parents immediately hired an attorney to fight the charges against him. After trying unsuccessfully to have the case dismissed, they settled for a diversion program to have the charges expunged. The program required Gavin to regularly submit school grades, write essays, and perform community service. “We’re probably at about $4,000 in order to get a 10-year-old’s record expunged,” Gavin’s father said to KOAA.
Lingering After Effects
Gavin’s parents say the incident has made both boys wary of law enforcement. “We’re trying to establish now for the boys a few events to help build trust in law enforcement because it was shattered,” Christopher Carpenter said, per FOX21. “We want them to not be scared and show that law enforcement is their friends, and they need to show them the proper respect.”
Meanwhile, Gavin’s mother said the incident has the family considering a permanent move out of Colorado. “I thought Colorado would be the state that we came back to as a family after Chris retires from the military,” Stefanie wrote on Facebook, “…but after all of this it is confirmed we do not want to EVER come back to this state.”
Regarding the arrest, the El Paso County Sherriff’s Office told FOX21 news, “If anyone is dissatisfied with the actions of any employee of the El Paso County Sherriff’s Office, they have administrative avenues available to them. We encourage citizens to take advantage of those avenues.”
Police Arrest 10-Year-Old for Pointing Toy Guns at Cars — Sources:
FOX21 News – “Two 10-year-old boys handcuffed and booked after playing with toy gun outside”
KKTV 11 News – “Parents say Colorado boy was arrested on a felony charge for playing with a fake gun”
KOAA News 5 – “‘Forever changed:’ Parents say son faced felony charge for toy gun”