Did Arvada Police Overreact in Arresting an 11-Year-Old Boy?

February 24 2011, 9:25 AM

In a drawing titled "Music Sucks," a stick figure labeled "Me" points a gun at four other figures accompanied by the words "teachers they must die" [sic]. The disturbing work is the creation of an 11-year-old Arvada boy who apparently suffers from attention deficit disorder. His therapist had encouraged him to draw pictures whenever he felt upset, but the drawing in question was made at school and alarmed Arvada police enough to arrest the boy.

Oddly, the incident occurred late last year but was reported just this week (by Denver's Fox 31) and began generating various headlines yesterday. Using plenty of get-tough talk, the officers defend their actions to Westword, but others disagree with how the situation was handled. A poll by Fox 31 shows more than 90 percent of respondents are opposed to the officers' handcuffing of the boy, as well as taking him to the police station for fingerprinting and a mug shot. The boy, who says he was releasing anger and didn't mean to hurt teachers or anyone else, was charged with a third-degree misdemeanor for interfering with students and staff at an educational facility. He is on probation.