Phoenix to Pay $475K to Couple Threatened During Shoplifting Arrest

Father says he feared cops were going to execute him
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2020 6:00 PM CDT
City to Pay $475K to Couple Who Thought Cops Would 'Execute' Them
Dravon Ames, holding microphone, speaks to Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, as his fiancee, Iesha Harper, right, holds 1-year-old daughter London, at a community meeting, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

A Black couple who feared Phoenix police officers were going to shoot them over a doll their 4-year-old daughter took from a Dollar Tree are set to receive a payout from the city. The Arizona Republic reports that Phoenix City Council is expected to approve a $475,000 payment to Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper, who said officers pointed guns at them and threatened to shoot Ames. The couple, who said they didn't notice the girl take the doll from the store, said officers approached their vehicle with their guns drawn and one of them was "banging on the window with a gun, saying he's gonna shoot us in the face," when they were dropping their daughter off at a babysitter's apartment.

Harper, who was five months pregnant at the time, said her 1-year-old daughter was injured when an officer tried to grab her. The couple, who later filed a $10 million claim against the city, were released without being charged. Officer Christopher Meyer, who was heard in bystander video yelling "I'm gonna f---ing put a cap right in your f---ing head" at Ames, was fired almost five months after the May 2019 incident. A second officer received a reprimand. After the death of George Floyd, Ames told 12 News that it was disturbing to realize he had been in the same "predicament" as the Minneapolis man. "It’s heartbreaking because it makes me think I could have been dead at that moment. And it honestly makes me angry," he said. "I think a lot of people are starting to see this just isn’t right." (More Phoenix stories.)

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