Tempers Flare at Meeting Over Controversial Police Encounter With Phoenix Family
A young couple said Phoenix cops threatened to shoot them after their daughter walked out of a store with a Barbie doll.
A community meeting in Phoenix got heated Tuesday night as angry citizens confronted the mayor and police chief following an incident that went viral in recent days.
“We are outraged at the conduct of phoenix police officers,” one citizen said.
Police Chief Jeri Williams promised change to the fired-up crowd, but then a woman shouted, “Real change starts with the firing of the officers! Fire them!"
With guns drawn on May 29, Phoenix cops detained a young couple, Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper, in a parking lot after their 4-year-old daughter walked out of a Family Dollar store with a Barbie doll.
The officers cursed and screamed at the pregnant mom, who was inside the car with her two children.
One officer ran to the vehicle and screamed, “Get out of the f***ing car!” with his gun drawn and pointed toward the family.
The incident was captured on multiple cellphones and posted online, where it has gained national attention.
On Monday’s episode of “The Daily Show,” host Trevor Noah dedicated part of his show to the story.
"What happened to ‘protect and serve?’” the South African comedian asked. “I’m sorry, everything about that video is wrong. All right, not only is the cop screaming like the woman is the one pointing a gun at him, but he’s talking about ‘busting caps’ like he’s a lost member of NWA. There’s no excuse for this.”
In one video, Ames was handcuffed and put against another vehicle, and told to spread his legs. Video shows his legs were kicked by the cop.
In the police report, the officer wrote, “I made him spread his feet.”
“What’s troubling about this is it makes you wonder how many people have been arrested and put in jail because everyone assumes the police version of the events is always the truth,” Noah added.
Police released new surveillance video from the store this week which they say shows the father shoplifting underwear and the family leaving without paying for anything.
But the family's attorney said nothing justifies what happened.
“Whether he stole underwear or not … are you kidding me that this would justify police brutality?" Sandra Slaton, a lawyer for the family, said Monday during a news conference.
Jay-Z and his company Roc Nation have stepped in to help the family by hiring attorney Alex Spiro to join the family’s legal team.
The couple was not charged with shoplifting and the family filed a $10 million suit against the city of Phoenix last week.
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