Phoenix’s mayor is apologizing for the egregious acts of officers against an unarmed family that included a toddler and a baby.
If you haven’t heard about the insanity in Arizona, here it is:
Last month, 22-year-old Dravon Ames and his 24-year-old fiancée, Iesha Harper, took a trip to their local Family Dollar. In tow were daughters London and Island, ages 1 and 4 respectively.
Purportedly unbeknownst to the parents, Island took a doll from the store.
Cops were tipped off that the bunch had shoplifted.
When the four arrived at their babysitter’s apartment complex, all hell broke loose — including the Hades of cops pointing their guns at pregnant Iesha and her infant.
Here’s a bit of recap from NPR:
Cell phone videos taken by witnesses show officers shouting profanities at the family as officers order that they put their hands up. If they did not comply, an officer can be heard saying, “you’re gonna f***ing get shot. Get your f***ing hands up!”
Police wrote in an incident report that they feared the mother was “hiding something” or was reaching for a gun. (No weapons were recovered from the family.)
In the parents’ civil rights claim, they say when Harper exited the vehicle, officers injured her 1-year-old daughter by pulling on one of her arms when Harper would not follow an officer’s order to hand over her baby.
The filing from the family alleges that Ames was thrown against a vehicle and kicked so hard that he collapsed before a police officer “kept his knee between the father’s legs. He punched the father very hard in the back for no reason,” the parents’ lawyer, Thomas Horne, wrote in the claim.
Harper passed off her baby to a bystander before police handcuffed her and her fiancé and they were placed in a police patrol car.
“I could have shot you in front of your f***ing kids,” an officer said to her, according to the family’s claim.
Check out the video for yourself:
I normally refrain from using this word to describe people’s actions, but I don’t think it’s out of line to call at least two of the officers’ behavior hateful.
However, more information has come to light, as relayed by the city’s police chief, Jeri Williams, to local ABC15:
“[We] respond to a call of individuals — adults — who are stealing property from a business. When officers go to make initial contact, they run out of the store. We make a traffic stop. … We arrest one lady who’s charged with warrants later. The car flees again. From there, I get it: That’s where the language, that’s where the unprofessional conduct, that’s where the lack of professionalism really stood out. It’s troubling, it’s challenging…definitely not representative of the 2900 officers that we have in Phoenix.”
An anchor responded:
“[T]his piles on to a mountain of complaints. Last year, we had a record number of officer-involved shootings, sadly. … And that is excessive force to a lot of people.”
You’ll find more discussion about the police report — and some things left out of it — in the video at the bottom of this article.
The doll was returned to Family Dollar, and no one was charged with shoplifting. Dravon was ticketed for driving on a suspended license. His car was impounded.
He says he’s limping from the episode, and the couple maintains their 4-year-old is having nightmares.
The family’s claiming battery, unlawful imprisonment, and emotional distress. They’re suing the city for $10 million.
On Saturday evening, Mayor Kate Gallego issued an apology via Twitter and called for a community meeting to be held on June 18th (the day of this posting). She also announced that every Phoenix officer will soon be outfitted with body cameras:
My statement on the May 27th Phoenix Police incident: pic.twitter.com/1mYHQQbhWv
— Mayor Kate Gallego (@MayorGallego) June 16, 2019
Watch all the videos if you can. What are your thoughts? Please sound off in the Comments section.
I look forward to learning for you, including those of you who are experienced in law enforcement.
Also: As noted by the newswoman above, Arizona hasn’t exactly been batting 1000 in the area of police conduct. For more, see my coverage of a jawdropping incident in Glendale, “WATCH: Arizona Cops Terrorize Family In ‘One Of The Most Cruel…Cases Of…Misconduct…Ever Seen.’”
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