Phoenix officer pulled gun after child took doll from store

Clay Curtis
June 16, 2019

"I assure you that this incident is not representative of the majority of Phoenix police officers who serve this city", Williams said.

Dravon Ames and his fiancee, Lesha Harper, had just left a dollar store on May 29 with their daughters, ages 1 and 4, and were in their auto when they realized the older girl had taken a doll, according to a notice of claim filed Wednesday with the city.

Soon after they left the store, Ames said the couple pulled into an apartment complex to drop their daughter off at a babysitter.

Ames said there were no sirens or lights to indicate that they were being pulled over beforehand and the officer who was pointing a gun at them did not immediately identify himself as an officer. But passersby recorded the encounter.

"You're going to get f-king shot!" an officer screamed, as Ames' face was slammed into a police auto and his legs violently kicked apart.

When pushed to raise her hands again, she asks "do you want me to put my baby on the hot floor?"

In the report, the officer writes she "refused to put the child down".

Ames and Harper said they were threatened and handcuffed.

Seconds later, Ames is yanked off the ground and pushed up against the squad vehicle, his feet about shoulder-width apart. Then, the officer dragged him upright and punched him in the back, the claim said.

Police said Harper, the mother of the two children, remained in the vehicle and later explained that she believed one of her daughters had stolen the doll because they didn't have any money.

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The matter is now under investigation, according to Alameda County District Attorney spokeswoman Teresa Drenick. The deputy complained of pain in his jaw and was taken to a hospital for evaluation and later released.

The notice of claim also alleges that the couple's baby girl was injured when the officer tried to snatch her from her mother's arms. The officer forced her out of the vehicle and she was still holding one-year-old London. Eventually he threw Harper, who had handed the children to a bystander, into the police auto face first, then handcuffed her.

Harper, who was five months pregnant at the time, said she was terrified.

Oh, and after everything the police put that Arizona family through - no arrests were made and no charges were filed.

The officers were responding to a shoplifting report, and it appeared that Dravon and Iesha's daughter had walked out of the store carrying a doll.

One of the officers told Harper, "I could have shot you in front of your f-- kids", according to the claim filed by the family's lawyer, Thomas Horne, a former attorney general for the state.

The police department claims the incident happened on May 27, and described a different version of events. The affiliate reported that police said there were other stolen items in the vehicle besides the doll.

"The Phoenix Police Department takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and for this reason, this incident is now being investigated by the Professional Standards Bureau".

On Saturday, ABC15 obtained a copy of the full police report, which was written by Meyer and found there were major differences in what was seen on the video and what was written in the report. The officer had told Ames, who was driving the vehicle, to stop, but he didn't, police said.

A family is suing the Phoenix Police Dept. over excessive force after their arrest was caught on camera. The police department has not named any of the officers involved.

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