PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Amid community demands for the firing of the officers accused of misconduct and assault in their encounter with a family, Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio said, "There was no excessive use of force. The stop was lawful."
[GRAPHIC RAW VIDEO: Citizens record on cellphones alleged Phoenix police misconduct]
DiCiccio released a statement on the May 27 incident, which came to light with cellphone video last week.
"While the video that shows the conclusion of the incident looks bad, the only element of this arrest, which appears to be out of policy, is the use of foul language during the incident, which is unfortunate, but hardly unusual in a charged situation," he said. "The actions of the officers appear to be entirely in line with policy."
Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper, the couple in the video, have filed a notice of claim of their intent to sue for $10 million.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Phoenix police accused of misconduct after encounter with family]
As part of his statement, DiCiccio included a timeline of what happened on May 27.
"Here's what happened, and I challenge anyone ... to dispute this timeline of events."
A call came in regarding a theft from a store, officers responded.
Upon arrival, the responding officer was alerted to another theft from the same store.
During this second theft, store video confirms additional items were taken by multiple adult suspects, including both the adults present during the stop.
Suspects were identified and police approached the individuals while in their vehicle at the store parking lot.
Officers gave multiple commands to the driver of the suspect’s vehicle to exit the vehicle.
Despite lawful orders, the vehicle took off and stopped a short distance away.
At this time, a single female passenger exited the vehicle and surrendered to police.
Driver proceeded to continue to ignore lawful police orders and took off once again, coming to a stop approximately one mile away.
The female passenger who originally exited the vehicle confirmed that she heard the orders, and asked the driver to stop, then asked to be let out of the vehicle.
Vehicle was identified and followed by a second police unit, which was waiting for assistance from additional units before activating their emergency lights and initiating the stop.
Vehicle turned into an apartment complex and stopped, causing the tailing police unit to initiate contact, and the first officer called the suspects out of the vehicle while the second officer – per policy – remained in a defensive location with his service weapon in the ready position, but not aimed.
Once all the passengers had exited the vehicle and officers could see that they were not armed, the second officer returned his service weapon to his holster – again, per policy.
The female passenger admitted to police upon being detained that she could hear the officer in the parking lot ordering them to exit the vehicle, and that the driver ignored those orders and fled.
Both the driver and female passenger admitted to having shoplifted items from the store.
Driver and passenger additionally admitted to tossing stolen items out of the car as they drove away.
"Some have claimed that because this was ‘only’ a shoplifting incident, that police should have approached the traffic stop less aggressively," DiCiccio said. "That narrative completely ignores the fact that the driver was ordered to stop by police, chose to ignore those orders, and fled the scene. Officers who conducted the stop weren’t merely responding to a shoplifting case: they were responding to a shoplifting case where the suspect had also already demonstrated that they were willing to ignore the lawful orders of officers on the scene."
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams has publicly apologized for the incident, an apology Ames and Harper have refused to accept.
"I hesitated to put out any statement on this issue until more information became available because – without question – someone viewing the video without any additional facts would and should be upset by what they saw," DiCiccio said. "However, in light of the full facts of the case, I challenge anyone to contradict the timeline I have put out, and challenge anyone to show me exactly where the police have acted out of policy, with the exception of the use of foul language."