On May 27th, several Phoenix Police officers threatened to execute a family over a 4-year-old “shoplifting” a Barbie Doll from a Dollar store, in Phoenix, Arizona, US.
“After this, me and my daughters will never be the same anymore or feel the same for police because it seems like every police is out for blood or something. We wasn’t really doing anything,” Harper said during a press conference.
The family – Dravon Ames, 22, his pregnant fiancée Iesha Harper, 24, and their daughters, Island, 4 and 1-year-old London, were held at gunpoint by several screaming Phoenix police officers.
Police were responding to an anonymous caller about a possible shoplifting incident of a dollar store Barbie doll.
Court documents show that the dollar store did not call for police. With guns drawn, and screaming orders rife with foul language, cops surrounded the family at their car, pulled guns, and threatened to kill them.
The Phoenix Police Department said it was opening an investigation after partial footage of the incident was released by a bystander.
The family said the video didn’t include the first 5 to 10 minutes of the encounter.
No arrests were made nor were charges filed, though Ames says his car was impounded and that the injuries he sustained have made him unable to work.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego issued a statement calling the officer’s conduct as seen in the footage “completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional.”
My statement on the May 27th Phoenix Police incident: pic.twitter.com/1mYHQQbhWv
— Mayor Kate Gallego (@MayorGallego) June 16, 2019
Currently, the family is suing the Phoenix Police Department in a $10 million lawsuit, after almost getting shot over a $5 Barbie Doll.
The family claims they weren’t aware their daughter had taken the doll until they were in their car and on their way to a nearby apartment complex where their babysitter lived. That’s when they said a police car silently pulled up behind them and an officer went up to Ames and allegedly pointed a gun at him.
Their lawsuit claim states: “The police officers committed battery, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest, infliction of emotional distress, and violation of civil rights under the fifth and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution.”
Chief of Police Jeri Williams gave a statement on saying that the police officers would be investigated, but their names weren’t revealed.
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
This followed a written statement by the Phoenix Police Department on June 12th.
On June 11, 2019, we were provided video of an officer taking two individuals into custody while investigating a shoplifting incident in the area of 3200 East Roosevelt Street. This occurred after the suspect vehicle was stopped a short distance from the scene of the theft. It involved a man and a woman with two small children. Please be advised, there is some language which might be considered offensive. The video is intentionally blurred for redaction purposes. 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. Information provided by:Sgt. Tommy ThompsonPhoenix Police DepartmentPublic Affairs Bureau
Posted by City of Phoenix Police Department on Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Arizona Senator Martin Quezada called the incident a “systematic failure of leadership” over Twitter, in a response to Chief of Police Jeri Williams.
It's not enough to just "get it." This is a systematic failure of leadership that is putting Phoenicians lives at risk. ONE bad acting officer influences a community's trust of ALL with a badge and a gun. It's time to clean house in a game changing way. https://t.co/uKceNsC81t
— Sen. Martín Quezada (@SenQuezada29) June 15, 2019
So, yes, to answer all arising questions, the bastion of democracy and human rights has repeated examples of systemic racism and families with young children being threatened with execution over an item that costs between $1 and $5.