Video Shows Police Holding Family At Gunpoint After 4-Year-Old 'Shoplifts' Doll
The officers can be heard threatening to kill the parents in front of their children — over a Family Dollar doll
A horrifying video has surfaced showing Phoenix police officers drawing a gun on a family after a four-year-old little girl allegedly stole a doll from a Family Dollar store. The way the police are shown handling the situation is difficult to watch — to say their reaction is extreme is an understatement.
Dravon Ames and his fiance, Iesha Harper, say they didn’t notice their oldest daughter walked out of the store with a Barbie doll when the incident occurred last month. Soon after, they pulled into an apartment complex and police officers stormed the family, banging on the windows of their car and screaming at them with guns drawn and threatening to kill them.
KILL THEM. OVER A DOLLAR STORE DOLL.
“Our hands are up, we’re just trying not to get shot, trying to stay calm,” Ames tells CNN. “He had a gun drawn.”
The police were responding to an anonymous caller about a “possible shoplifting incident of a dollar store Barbie doll.” Court documents show that the call did not come from the Family Dollar in question. Which means that likely, someone shopping at the store saw the girl hang onto the doll as she left and this is how that person felt was the best way to handle it.
“Get out of the f*cking car,” an officer can be heard saying in the video above, which was recorded by a witness. One officer can be seen handcuffing Ames, first on the ground and then against a police car. The officer kicks Ames and can be heard yelling multiple times, “When I tell you to do something, you f*cking do it.”
Another overzealous officer is seen pointing a gun at the car, with the children still inside, while another cop yells, “You’re gonna f*cking get shot!” They also accost Harper, who is five months pregnant, as she eventually exits the vehicle and holds her youngest daughter, who is only a year old, in her arms. He can be seen trying to snatch the child from her, while screaming at her to put the baby down on the pavement.
Harper says the officer told her he could have “shot you in front of your fuc*ing kids” as she was arrested, handcuffed and placed inside the police car. Every single moment of the entire scene is mind-boggling in its injustice. “I really thought he was gonna shoot me in front of the kids,” Harper tells CNN. Utterly horrifying.
Ames and Harper have since filed a notice of claim against the city of Phoenix for $10 million, which serves as a precursor to a lawsuit. The city of Phoenix has 60 days to respond to the notice and the next step is filing a lawsuit, said Thomas Horne, the family’s attorney. Horne says officers committed battery and unlawful imprisonment, among others, and both the police department and city are liable because of “inadequate policies, training, supervision.”
There is no body camera footage available from the officers, and they never filed a report about it. The department is currently investigating the incident. “The Phoenix Police Department takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and for this reason, this incident is currently being investigated by the Professional Standards Bureau.”
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams shared a video on the department’s Facebook page, where she says she was “disturbed by the language and the actions of our officers.”
She says she began an immediate internal investigation as soon she was made aware of the video. “I assure you that this incident is not representative of the majority of Phoenix police officers who serve this city,” Williams says. “I wish investigations could be handled instantly, but each one takes time and deserves the due diligence before we can discuss specific details.”
As for their family, Harper and Ames say both of their daughters are traumatized — the four-year-old has been wetting the bed and having nightmares since the incident. Their one-year-old suffered from “dead arm” after the officer tried to yank her repeatedly from her mother’s arms. Both Harper and Ames are still suffering post-trauma from the inexcusable and violent reactions of the police officers.
“I’m supposed to protect my family, I’m cuffed up,” Ames says. “I’m hearing my daughter screaming, my fiancée being handled. It broke me down so much.”