The Phoenix Police Department have released the surveillance video of the moment a father appeared to shoplift before he and his family, including his four-year-old daughter, were held at gunpoint by officers.
Dravon Ames, 22, and Iesha Harper, 24, were held at gunpoint on May 27. They were followed home by Phoenix police who believed they had shoplifted from a Family Dollar store.
Their four-year-old daughter had taken a $1 doll without their knowledge. Police recently released the surveillance video that shows the girl with the doll in her hands while she shows it to a woman inside the store.
The woman is seen signaling for the girl to put the doll down before she walks outside.
After the woman walked out, the girl is seen waiting for two other adults before she walks out of the store with the doll in her hands.
Another clip of the video shows the girl’s father, who has been identified as Ames, stealing a pair of underwear from a package, according to police. Ames is seen grabbing the package and appearing to open it while squatting in the store.
The Phoenix Police Department have released the footage of the moment a father appeared to shoplift before he and his family, including his four-year-old daughter, were held at gunpoint by cops. The four-year-old (center) is seen holding a doll in Family Dollar
The girl is later seen walking out of the store still holding the doll that hadn’t been purchased
Another clip of the video shows the girl’s father, who has been identified as Dravon Ames (pictured), 22, stealing a package of underwear, according to police. Ames is seen grabbing the package and appearing to open it while squatting in the store
Ames and Harper, who is six-months pregnant, were filmed being threatened by the cops outside their apartment on May 27.
A by-stander filmed the incident and the footage went viral this week, prompting outcry around the country and a public apology from the Phoenix police chief.
The department has released a 16 page incident report which accuses Ames of stealing underwear and another woman, who they say was with the family, of stealing something else.
Police claimed they followed them home, thinking they were armed, and threatened them as a result.
The family rejects their version of events and says the only thing taken was a $1 Barbie which their four-year-old daughter stole without them knowing about it.
Neither adult has been charged or arrested and now, they are suing the city for $10million in damages. Their legal bills are being paid by rapper Jay Z.
On Monday, Ames choked back tears as he argued with reporters who asked him repeatedly if he’d stolen the underwear.
Dravon Ames, 22, fought tears on Monday as he told how he thought he and his family would ‘all be executed’ by Phoenix cops on May 27 while they held them at gunpoint over a $1 Barbie their daughter stole
Iesha Harper, who was holding her one-year-old and was with her four-year-old , said she thought the cop was going to shoot her in the face in front of them. She is six months pregnant
‘They put a gun in my daughter’s face, and you’re asking me about drawers?’ he said.
He added that he thought they were all going to be ‘executed’ when the cops appeared, yelling at them to ‘put their f****** hands up’.
‘My family has been through enough. You see in the video the fear. The sounds of my daughters crying, and you’re asking me about some drawers?
‘The police put a gun in my daughter’s face and you’re asking me about some drawers. That’s insensitive, that’s insulting,’ he said.
‘I thought we were all going to be executed. By the grace of God, someone was there to video this,’ he said.
Earlier, he rejected police chief’s Jeri Williams’ apology, saying it had done ‘nothing’ for the family.
‘It feels like a half apology. The officers are still working. It’s a slap in the face. It’s like putting lemon juice on an open wound.
‘Everyone knows they are not fit to be policing,’ he said.
Chilling footage from May 27 shows cops surrounding Ames and his family with guns drawn., It was in their apartment complex parking lot, which police had followed them back to, after being called to a Family Dollar store where staff thought they had shoplifted
The cops also threatened Harper, saying: ‘When I tell you to f*****g do something, you f******g do it’. She told them the only reason she did not lift her arms when they asked her to was because she was holding her baby
The police department has refused to name the multiple officers in the video.
All have been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of an investigation.
While Williams condemned their behavior in a string of interviews on Sunday, she added there were ‘more facts’ to the story and maintained that the parents had shoplifted.
On Monday, their lawyers were hesitant when asked if they had shoplifted but said that even if they had, it would not warrant the type of aggressive, life-threatening reaction they received.
‘Let’s just assume for the sake of argument, everything [in the police report] was true. It still would not justify what they did.
‘If you stole underwear, does that mean you get to do what they did?
‘Nothing they did justifies what’s on that tape. Our bottom line is nothing justifies it.
‘These are unarmed individuals. It’s wrong to do this to anybody and that is the point,’ one of the family’s representatives said.
Rev Jarrett Maupin, who has been supporting the family since he saw the tape, added: ‘Even if they stole every damn roll of tin foil, even if they stole 10 packs of underwear and a partridge and a pear tree, it does not justify what we saw on that tape.’
Harper said her daughters now fear all police.
‘It was terrifying for me and my children. They’ve never been through anything like that.
Jeri Williams, Phoenix’s chief of police, said on Sunday that she has apologized to the family for the ‘unacceptable’ behavior of the officers but she claimed there were ‘more facts’ to the story and maintained they had shoplifted
‘I have always taught my daughter to depend on the police if something’s happening, but she’s terrified to this day.’
She said she feared she was going to be shot in the face in front of her kids.
‘I thought I was going to be shot like he told me in my face,’ she said.
In the video, Ames is taken away first from cops who yelled: ‘Put your f*****g hands up or I’ll put a f*****g cap in your head’.
As he was taken away and slammed onto the side of a police car, the four-year-old and one-year-old screamed.
Police continued to scream at the mother, telling her to put her arms up. She argued back that she couldn’t because she had a baby in her arms.
The officers then told her to put the one-year-old on the ground. She refused and ended up handing the baby to a stranger who had approached the scene to help her.
The couple say at no point were they aware that the cops were following them.
Jay Z has offered to pay the family’s legal bills
They say they were never asked to pull over on their way home from the Family Dollar store.
Now, they say the police are trying to vilify them to justify their extreme actions.
‘They’re trying to blur us out. They’re trying to silence us,’ Ames said.
The family also slammed the mayor and the police chief for publicly apologizing on Twitter, Facebook and in interviews but not directly to them.
‘They never did apologize to the family. Getting on TV, after you’ve run someone through the mud and tried to demonize and criminalize them and justify the unjustifiable, you ought to pick up the phone.
‘The police chief knows our phone numbers. There was no invitation to go to city hall.
‘They didn’t apologize to this family. They went on an apology tour.
‘They ought to be ashamed of themselves,’ Maupin added.
Arizona Gov Doug Ducey said the video showing Phoenix police aiming guns and yelling profanities at the family is disturbing and unacceptable.
But the Republican governor said Monday that he knows there’s more to the story and he’s withholding judgment on the officers’ actions until an investigation is done.
Ducey praised the transparency of Williams and says he wants to see equal justice for everyone.
Mayor Kate Gallego apologized over the weekend.
Gallego issued a statement on Saturday calling the frightening incident ‘completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional’.
She has demanded a thorough investigation, which Williams says is already underway.
Gallego is also expediting the deadline for police-worn cameras to August and has scheduled a community meeting to discuss the matter on Tuesday.