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Couple Threatened by Phoenix Cops: Apologies No Good

Iesha Harper, Dravon Ames want officers involved fired after disturbing video circulates
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2019 7:16 AM CDT
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Iesha Harper, right, answers a question during a news conference with Dravon Ames, left, at Phoenix City Hall on Monday in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(Newser) – Iesha Harper and Dravon Ames, a black couple with two young children seen in a video that emerged last week showing cops in Phoenix screaming at them, guns drawn, after an alleged shoplifting incident, have since received apologies from the city's police chief and mayor—but they're not buying it. Police Chief Jeri Williams said Sunday her officers "shouldn't have reacted the way that we reacted," per NBC News, while in a statement on Twitter, Mayor Kate Gallego called the incident at the end of last month "completely inappropriate," adding, "I am deeply sorry for what this family went through." The reaction of Harper, who's six months pregnant, at a presser Monday, per the AP: "I don't accept the apology." She says that the officers involved "should be fired," per the Arizona Republic, with Ames adding, "I thought we were all going to be executed," per NBC.

The couple has filed a $10 million claim against the city, with another question looming: Is this incident indicative of a larger issue within the Phoenix PD? The New York Times lists other times where critics say the department has offered "selective or misleading accounts that put the blame on residents." Phoenix had substantially more police shootings last year—44—than other cities of similar size, while the AP notes that Phoenix police officers have also come under fire for being included in a recent database that seems to catalog disturbing social media posts by both current and ex-cops, including posts appearing to glorify police brutality. Per the Arizona Mirror, Gov. Doug Ducey told reporters Monday the video involving Harper, 24, and Ames, 22, was "unacceptable," but "I know ... there's more to this story, so I want to let the investigation play out." The cops have been placed on desk duty for now. (Read more police stories.)

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