This browser does not support the video element.

Posted

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Phoenix Police Department will be facing a $10 million lawsuit in connection with officers' response to a shoplifting call.

A notice of claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, was filed on Thursday morning.

[GRAPHIC RAW VIDEO: Citizens record on cellphones alleged Phoenix police misconduct]

[WATCH: Family plans to file lawsuit against Phoenix PD over claims of police brutality]

The documents claim that Phoenix police officers engaged in police brutality and civil rights violations.

The claim said the incident happened on May 29 but police said it was on May 27.

[EXPLICIT: Notice of claim filed against Phoenix PD]

According to the claim, Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper, who is five months pregnant, didn't realize their 4-year-old took a doll from the Family Dollar Store at 36th Street and McDowell Road until they were in the car.

The family drove to an apartment complex near 32nd and Roosevelt streets, where their babysitter lived. A police car pulled up behind them with "no sirens or lights," court documents said.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Phoenix police investigating after officers accused of misconduct]

"We're talking about a little doll that's worth maybe $5 and the horrors that came from the overreaction to that," said former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who is representing the family.

That's when the family claims an officer went up to Ames, who was in the driver's seat, pointed a gun at him and said, "I'm going to put a cap in your ass." The officer also said, "I'm gonna shoot you in your (expletive) face," the claim said.

Their 4-year-old and their 1-year-old children were in the backseat of the car.

The family claims the officer pulled Ames out of the car, kicked him in the right leg, and punched him in the back. Ames said he wasn't resisting.

"He kicked me pretty hard," said Ames. "I'm still limping."

The officer also pointed a gun at the mother and children inside, the claim said.

Ames and Harper claim they were put into handcuffs and that threats with profanity were made.

"They held guns on these little girls," said Rev. Jarrett Maupin, a civil rights activist. "They held guns on these two parents."

Some of the incident was caught on camera, but the family says five to 10 minutes went by from when officers first approached and when people started filming.

No arrests were made, and no one was charged. 

"After this, me and my daughters will never be the same anymore or feel the same for police because it seems like every police is (sic) out for blood or something. We wasn't (sic) really doing anything," said Harper.

The claim says the car was impounded and Ames' injuries, due to the police brutality, are making him unable to work.

"They just tortured this... father sitting next to me," said Maupin.

The money is based on $2.5 million for each family member.

The Phoenix Police Department released more information on Friday and said officers were at the Dollar Store looking into another shoplifting incident when a store employee told them about the stolen doll.

Police said that officer walked toward the car but it drove off. Then a description of the car was broadcast over the radio and officers found it near 32nd Street and McDowell Road. 

The police report said officers told Ames and Harper to show their hands. One officer said he drew his gun because Ames "began to reach towards the center of the vehicle between the front seats." Harper refused to show her hands because she had the two children in the car, police said.

Police said Harper was "loud, verbally abusive and refused" the commands of the officers while she was being detained. 

Officers didn't mention kicking Ames while his legs were spread.

According to the police report, Ames was interviewed and admitted to shoplifting from the store as well and threw a pair of underwear out the window when he was leaving. 

His car was impounded because he was driving on a suspended license, police said. Ames was cited for driving on a suspended license.

The store didn't want to prosecute because both stolen items were returned, and that's why no charges were filed, police said.

When Harper was interviewed, she said she was scared when police told her to put her hands up and didn't know what to do.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams posted a video to Facebook on Friday afternoon reacting to what happened.

"I, like you, am disturbed by the language and the actions of our officer," said Williams in the video.

She said an internal investigation is underway.

"I stand by my commitment of transparency and accountability as we continue to complete this internal investigation," said Williams.

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.