Phoenix Mayor Apologizes After Video Shows Police Pointing Guns at Family
By R.J. Johnson - @rickethewriter
June 16, 2019
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego issued an apology on Saturday after a disturbing viral video appeared to show members from the Phoenix police department pointing guns and yelling threats at a young family after their 4-year-old daughter mistakenly took a doll from a Family Dollar Store on May 27.
"I, like many others, am sick over what I have seen in the video depicting Phoenix police interacting with a family and young children," Gallego's statement on Twitter read. "It was completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional. There is no situation in which this behavior is ever close to acceptable. As a mother myself, seeing these children placed in such a terrifying situation is beyond upsetting.
"I am deeply sorry for what this family went through, and I apologize to our community," Gallego wrote. "This is not who we are, and I refuse to allow this type of behavior to go unchallenged."
Gallego announced that changes will be made to the police force in response to the video, including speeding up the deployment of body cameras across the entire force. The mayor promised to have every Phoenix police precinct equipped with body cameras by August.
The Phoenix mayor also said that they would be hosting a community meeting with Police Chief Jeri Williams to answer citizen concerns about how the police department handled the incident.
"I recognize that to get to the bottom of this issue and implement meaningful change, we are going to have some uncomfortable and painful conversations," Gallego said. "These conversations must continue until every one of our residents feels safe in our community."
The video shows officers with the Phoenix police department pointing guns and yelling at Dravon Ames, 22, and his pregnant fiancee, Aisha Harper after they were pulled over on May 29. The couple said the incident began after an anonymous call to police about their daughter stealing a doll from a Family Dollar Store, which the family says was an accident.
The family has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the Phoenix Police Department, claiming that officers used excessive force, threatened to shoot them and pointed a gun at their two young daughters. The notice of claim filed last week, said the officers committed battery, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest and infliction of emotional distress in addition to violations of their civil rights.
The Phoenix police department confirmed that the incident is currently under review.
"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," Sgt. Tommy Thompson of the Phoenix Police Department wrote on Facebook.