US cops who threatened to kill family over ‘stolen doll’ placed on desk duty, triggering more uproar
Several videos of the confrontation surfaced earlier this week, quickly going viral and causing a storm of outrage. The incident itself occurred on May 27, when Phoenix Police was alerted by an employee of a Family Dollar store about an alleged shoplifting incident – a four-year-old child had left the shop with a doll without paying.
"My hands are up! My hands are up!" 22yo Dravon Ames says as a Phoenix police officer yells to "get your fucking hands up." The same officer later says "You're gonna fucking get shot!"Ames says the officers stopped him after his child walked out of a Dollar Store with a doll. pic.twitter.com/Nlkd7IXsyc— Meg O'Connor (@megoconnor13) June 12, 2019
The police chased the suspects – Dravon Ames, 22; his fiancee, Iesha Harper, 24; along with their two young daughters, one-year-old London Drake, and four-year-old Island Drake – and cornered their vehicle near an apartment complex where the family’s babysitter lives. Footage from the scene shows the officers drawing their guns and threatening to kill the pair for non-compliance.
Another angle on the Phoenix police incident where an officer tries to forcibly remove a baby while using excessive force for a questionable arrest. Police Chief Williams has yet to confirm if any of these officers have been suspended while this is being investigated. pic.twitter.com/D9YH1qj6ol— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) June 15, 2019
“I’m going to shoot you in your f**king face!” the police officers can be heard saying, along with other, profanity-laden commands. Ironically, the original police incident report describes the sweary shouting by the officers as “loud commands,” while Harper was blamed for being “verbally abusive.”
No shoplifting charges were pressed against the couple, but Ames was fined for driving with a suspended license and his vehicle was impounded. The doll of discord was returned to the store. While the police launched an internal probe into the embarrassing incident, the couple filed a $10 million civil rights claim against the city.
Desk duty?!? Fired and indicted is the only reasonable option.— Jïmm¥†ð†hêð (@JimmytotheO) June 16, 2019
The police chief, Jeri Williams, said she was “disturbed by the language and the actions” of her officers, but the attempt at damage control made things even worse, sparking a new wave of outrage after the department said those involved were “removed from the street and assigned to desk duty.”
framing this as a “shoplifting incident” is insulting.This framing reveals that this a systemic issue not individual police issue. This is not acceptable. Addreee the bias. Address the over escalation. Address the disrespect. Address accountability. Be transparent.— lisa franklin (@lisa__franklin) June 16, 2019
In an overwhelmingly negative response, many argued that the officers should at least have been suspended, demoted or even placed in custody, instead of getting a comfy office job. Others criticized the department’s “fact sheet” that described the whole affair as a “shoplifting incident,” arguing that a four-year-old child is too young to grasp the concept of stealing.
That officer screaming “I’m going to blow your fucking head off!” sounded like an unhinged psycho and should never have been allowed in a position of authority or in possession of a firearm. He’s an immature, poorly trained danger to society.— Ally Maynard (@missmayn) June 16, 2019
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego meanwhile issued an apology for the police actions, branding them “completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional,” as well as noting that she found the videos to be “beyond upsetting.”
People in service industry jobs are fired for MUCH LESS. It’s preposterous that you would go to such lengths to protect the employment of such dangerous people at the risk of innocent people’s lives.— Mia Araujo- GenCon booth#55 (@mllemiaaraujo) June 16, 2019
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