North America

'Not who we are': Phoenix mayor apologises after police threaten family over dollar store doll

0:00

An investigation has been launched after a family were targeted by police after a four-year-old girl took a doll from a store, with allegations by the family that police threatened to shoot them.

The Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona has apologised after footage emerged of police officers allegedly threatening to shoot a young couple, including a pregnant woman.

The incident occurred late last month after the couple’s four-year-old daughter allegedly took a doll without paying for it.

Mayor Kate Gallego said in a social media post that an investigation was under way with an aim to "implement meaningful change".

“I, like many others, am sick over what I have seen in the video depicting Phoenix police interacting with a family and young children,” she said.

“It was completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional. There is no situation in which this behaviour is ever close to acceptable.

“As a mother myself, seeing these children placed in such a terrifying situation is beyond upsetting.

“This is not who we are, and I refuse to allow this type of behaviour to go unchallenged.”

The couple - Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper - said they did not know their daughter had the doll when they left the Family Dollar store, late last month.

After leaving the store the couple, and their children, drove to an apartment block where video shows a police officer approaching their car, holding a gun. 

The family alleges the officer threatened to shoot them.

Mr Ames told CNN the officer had his gun drawn.

“Our hands are up, we were just trying not to get shot, trying to stay calm,” he said.

Phoenix police chief Jeri Williams in a Facebook post said an internal investigation had been launched.

“I, like you, am disturbed by the language and the actions of our officer,” she said.

 

The family also alleges the police officer hurt their one-year-old daughter after pulling on her arm, trying to take her away from Ms Harper.

Mr Ames said he was thrown against the car. 

Both Mr Ames and Ms Harper were handcuffed and put into a police car.

They are suing the city for $US10 million ($14.5 million). 

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch