Officials in Arizona have apologized to a family who police reportedly held at gunpoint late last month amid allegations that their 4-year-old daughter had stolen a doll from a dollar store.
Two videos recorded by residents reportedly show Phoenix police pulling their guns on Dravon Ames, 22, his pregnant fiancee, Iesha Harper, 24, and their two young daughters, ages 1 and 4, as they sat in a car parked on 36th and Roosevelt streets on May 27.
According to the Arizona Republic, the couple said they were unaware that the 4-year-old had taken a doll out of a Family Dollar before they headed to drop her off at her babysitter’s apartment—where police had stopped them.
Citing police, Reuters reported that a store employee alerted them to the alleged theft.
“You’re gonna f***king get shot!” one of the officers is heard yelling during the recorded exchange.
Chief Williams addresses incident which occurred on May 27, 2019 in the area of 3200 E. Roosevelt.
Posted by City of Phoenix Police Department on Friday, June 14, 2019
An officer, since identified as Christopher Meyer, is heard threatening, “I’m gonna put a f**king cap in your f**king head.”
The video also appears to show a police officer allegedly slamming Ames’ face into a police car before kicking his legs apart. Meanwhile, another officer reportedly attempted to take the 1-year-old child from Harper’s arms.
The Phoenix New Times reports that the family has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city, accusing officers of committing battery, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest, inflicting emotional distress and violating their civil rights.
In their report, police accused the couple of being slow to comply and making movements which suggested they were reaching for weapons, according to The New York Times.
After the story gained international attention, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego issued a public apology and called the ordeal “completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional.” Police Chief Jeri Williams released a video on Facebook Friday where she called the incident “disturbing” and announced the launch of an internal investigation. Notably, her statement didn’t include an apology.
Ames went on to dismiss their statements as “worthless” and asserted that the officers involved in last month’s incident should be out of a job.
“Honestly, it really hasn’t done anything to help us because this feels like it’s a half apology, like the officers are still worthy, and it’s just basically a slap in the face,” Ames said on Monday, according to HuffPost.
“It’s like putting some lemon juice on an open wound. It’s just hurting us even more.”
***WARNING: The video below includes language and content that could be disturbing to some viewers. Please use discretion.***
[Featured image: Twitter video screengrab]