A seemingly minor incident in Phoenix escalated rapidly, as police officers responded inappropriately to a “theft” committed by a 4-year-old girl at a store.
The girl had apparently managed to take a doll without her parents noticing, which they did only after leaving the store. The family was together with their 1-year-old daughter as well.
As the parents -- Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper -- were taking the kids to their babysitter, police officers approached them.
In videos captured by a bystander, an officer can be seen handling the father in a very rough manner, cuffing him while bringing him to the ground.
He was then lifted off the ground and stuffed hastily into a patrol car. One of the officers kicked him in the leg during the ordeal.
The father was not resisting in any way and kept apologizing throughout the whole incident.
Another officer drew his gun and went up to the family’s car, where the two daughters were.
He yelled at them to get their hands up at gunpoint multiple times.
The officer only put his weapon away after the whole family had exited the car.
He then threatened one of the parents, telling them that he could have quickly shot them “in front of your f***ing kids.”
The Phoenix PD is reportedly investigating the incident, but many have expressed doubt that the officers would see any real punishment.
Some have questioned how things would have gone down if nobody was there to record the whole ordeal in the first place.
Jeri Williams, Phoenix’s chief of police, has apologized to the family for the behavior of the officers but maintained they had shoplifted.
Ames told the media: “They put a gun in my daughter’s face, and you’re asking me about drawers? My family has been through enough. You see in the video the fear. The sounds of my daughters crying, and you’re asking me about some drawers? That’s insensitive, that’s insulting.”
The man added: "I thought we were all going to be executed. By the grace of God, someone was there to video this. It feels like a half apology. The officers are still working. It’s a slap in the face. It’s like putting lemon juice on an open wound. Everyone knows they are not fit to be policing.”
Rapper and activist Jay-Z has offered to pay the family’s legal bills. Do you think the shoplifting charge changes much in the story, yes or no?