• After a viral video showing Phoenix police threatening a black family over a 4-year-old girl taking a $1 Barbie doll from a store sparked outrage, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego apologized for the officers’ actions. Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams also apologized for the incident.
  • Police were called to a Family Dollar store on a shoplifting call where officers followed the family to their apartment complex and confronted the couple, Iesha Harper, 24, Dravon Ames, 22, and their two young children in their car.
  • A witness recorded the confrontation where officers were heard yelling expletives and threatening to shoot.
  • Per reports, Harper “repeatedly told them that she could not raise her arms because she was holding her baby.”
  • When Harper and the children exited the car, one of the officers aggressively placed his finger in her face and told her: “When I tell you to do something, you [expletive] do it!”
  • The incident report said the family was “suspected of shoplifting multiple items from the store but neither parent has been charged.”
  • The parents claim they didn’t realize that their 4-year-old took the Barbie without them paying for it.  
  • Gallego said: “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.”
  • She added: “I am deeply sorry for what this family went through and I apologize to our community.” A community meeting is planned for Tuesday.
  • Chief Williams denounced the officers’ behavior and actions and announced they are on desk duty pending an investigation.
  • Williams said: “What we saw in that video isn’t in keeping with good policing, it’s unacceptable.”
  • She added: “I apologized to the family for the interaction and to be honest with you, I’m apologizing to the community too because that is not what should have happened in that circumstance.”
  • Williams maintained the couple was guilty of shoplifting and said: “At the same time, there are more facts to this story. On May 27, adults made the choice to go into a local business and steal items and commit a theft.”
  • The couple plans to sue the city of Phoenix for $10 million, and rapper Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company has hired a prominent lawyer to represent the family for free.

Reference Links

  • BBC: Phoenix mayor apologises after police threaten to shoot black family READ
  • Democracy Now!: Outrage & Apologies After Video Shows Arizona Police Pointing Guns and Yelling at Black Family READ
  • HuffPost: Chilling Video Shows Cop Aiming Gun At Black Family After Girl, 4, Takes Doll From Store READ
  • Daily Mail: Phoenix police chief APOLOGIZES to family for the ‘unacceptable behavior’ of officers who threatened to shoot them after ‘their daughter, four, stole a $1 Barbie doll’ as Jay-Z offers to pay their legal bills READ

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