Patterico's Pontifications


Phoenix Family Sues Police

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 1:21 pm

[Headlines from DRJ]

Heavy.comShocking Video of Phoenix Cops Holding Black Family at Gunpoint Over $1 Doll:

The term shocking is oft used to describe surprising or eye-popping viral videos. There may be no more ‘shocking’ videos than these of Phoenix police pulling guns on a young black family in a parking lot over the alleged shoplifting of a 99-cent Barbie-like doll from a dollar store.

On May 27, Dravon Ames, 22, his pregnant fiancée Iesha Harper, 24, and their daughters, Island, 4 and 1-year-old London, were held at gunpoint by several screaming Phoenix police officers. Police were responding to an anonymous caller about a possible shoplifting incident of a dollar store Barbie doll. Court documents show that the dollar store did not call for police. With guns drawn, and screaming orders rife with foul language, cops surrounded the family at their car, pulled guns, and threatened to kill them.

Family to sue Phoenix PD for $10 million over officers’ response to shoplifting incident, police respond:

The Phoenix Police Department released more information on Friday and said officers were at the Dollar Store looking into another shoplifting incident when a store employee told them about the stolen doll.

Police said that officer walked toward the car but it drove off. Then a description of the car was broadcast over the radio and officers found it near 32nd Street and McDowell Road.

The police report said officers told Ames and Harper to show their hands. One officer said he drew his gun because Ames “began to reach towards the center of the vehicle between the front seats.” Harper refused to show her hands because she had the two children in the car, police said.

According to the police report, Ames was interviewed and admitted to shoplifting from the store as well and threw a pair of underwear out the window when he was leaving.


34 Responses to “Phoenix Family Sues Police”

  1. Ugh. Shoplifting a likely Chinese made doll and Vietnamese stitched undies from a ‘dollar store’ in Phoenix, Arizona speaks volumes but the true state of the ‘real world’ economy today.


    DCSCA (797bc0)

  2. Is “Reaganomics” now like “fascism”? An name for something you don’t like?

    Maggie Thatcher had you guys pegged when she said that “They’d rather the poor were poorer, so long as the rich were less rich.”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  3. @2. More like ‘Road Trip” a la ‘Animal House.’ 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  4. I don’t think they will win a large claim against the city — they had committed a crime and the police were within their rights to arrest them. No one was injured.

    That being said, the judgement of the police officers was poor and I expect there will be some disciplinary action, dependent upon facts not being substantially different than they appear.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  5. 4. Don’t underestimate the possibility that the guns drawn and foul language might sway a jury, especially since the family involved is black. As loathe as I normally am to toss around the r-word casually, “Would you have done this to a white family?” is a perfectly legitimate question to raise in open court.

    Gryph (08c844)

  6. Joe Arpaio country. Good thing that one-year old didn’t reach for his waist to pull up his diaper.

    nk (dbc370)

  7. @6. Is locoweed a local delicacy or just a side order at Arizona IHOPs?

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  8. Sorry. *her* diaper. The one-year old is a girl too.

    nk (dbc370)

  9. “Reaganomics”

    Lol blaming dollar stores and cheap goods on Reagan.

    If the people of Venezuela practiced Reaganomics they wouldn’t be eating pets and selling their children.

    harkin (1d71cc)

  10. 5, it’s certainly no way to build allies on other major fronts in the Arizona landscape.

    urbanleftbehind (37a780)

  11. 10. This behavior coming from cops, unbecoming as it is, doesn’t surprise me anyplace anymore. Community/Peelian policing is dead.

    Gryph (08c844)

  12. @11. Many are recent ex-military, too, so some of the reflexive zeal from that training no doubt can kick in.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  13. Not only reflexive zeal from training but the extra points they get from military service and the Associate’s degree they got through the GI Bill, even though neither is all that determinative about being a good cop.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. 12. If you come from a military background and can’t turn it off, you have no business being a civilian police officer.

    Gryph (08c844)

  15. @14. We all may have stories; had a LAPD cop out by LAX pull his piece on me for supposedly rolling through a stop sign and not coming to a full atop at a ‘T’ intersection literally in front of my place. Scared the crap out of me– the guy was totally tensed up and his partner, a more experienced officer, who was ‘training’ the guy, apologized for the fella’s zeal saying the ‘new guy’ had just left the service six months earlier. They gave me cards/badge numbers about it but just let it go.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  16. I doubt the cops arrived knowing the dispute was over a $1 doll.I don’t like being contacted by the cops, but I do know enough to not be reaching around for stuff because they get all huffy over it.
    There is next to zero black people here anymore and so all the criminals here are white or Hispanic. I look kinda scruffy some days, so I get pulled over a lot for nonsense like tapping a solid white line, signaling too late, various violations like having wipers on and headlights off during a rainy day. Irritating as hell. The worst was when i “matched the description” of an armed robber. I didn’t know why they were stopping me so I went into the glove box for insurance and registration…. they about lost their minds.
    Point is often the cops don’t know the details of who you are or what you did, and often the public has no idea that they match the description of a bad guy. I tend towards blaming that on the bad people out there stealing stuff and carrying weapons

    steveg (354706)

  17. I think the police get aggressive when people don’t follow orders. There are many reasons why people might not follow orders promptly — nervousness, confusion, disbelief, or deciding to fire first — but as long as one possibility is firing first (and it is possible, even with teens/kids and women), the police will escalate sooner rather than later. I don’t know how this will shake out but the police may condemn some of the language/threats the officers apparently used.

    DRJ (15874d)

  18. 17. The police will do as little as they have to do to stay out of trouble with the politicians that oversee them. And most of the time, that’s not much.

    16. You’re lucky you didn’t get shot. And luck was primarily what saved you from getting dragged out of your car and shoved face-first into the pavement. I guess it’s a good thing that “matching the description of an armed robber” isn’t against the law, eh?

    Gryph (08c844)

  19. 15. If you come from a military background and can’t turn it off, you have no business being a police officer. Full. Stop.

    Gryph (08c844)

  20. When I was in the police academy (I know, right?), the ones who had their heads on the most straight were the black women. They wanted a good job, with decent pay and good benefits and civil service protection. Not to be Wyatt Earp or Dirty Harry. And I know other cops, who are also family friends (and not black women) who are like that too.

    nk (dbc370)

  21. @19. Don’t know what ever became of him but will never forget his intensity. His partner chilled him down PDQ.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  22. “Is “Reaganomics” now like “fascism”? An name for something you don’t like?”

    – Kevin M

    It’s like “leftism.”

    Leviticus (a58727)

  23. We all may have stories; had a LAPD cop out by LAX pull his piece on me for supposedly rolling through a stop sign and not coming to a full atop at a ‘T’ intersection literally in front of my place.

    Me, too, except the two officers didn’t quite pull their pieces. Oh, one more tidbit: my car was on the hot list due a theft/recovery 6 months previous. I changed the plates the next day at the DMV.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  24. @23. Pretty jarring experience, isn’t it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  25. It’s like “leftism.”

    Perhaps. That conflates Socialism with gender politics and the two do not necessarily combine any more than fiscal conservatism combines with social conservatism.

    But since I know what “fascism” really means, both in the original Il Duce version and in the more generic versions (not all on the right), I find the careless “It’s spinach and I don’t like it” usage annoying.

    Similarly using “Reaganomics” to describe any situation where someone has less money than another person is at best silly.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  26. @23. Pretty jarring experience, isn’t it.

    Yes, though the cops had reason. I also expect my experience would have been different if I were black, even though that was fairly integrated area. What I don’t know is if their (supposed) greater distrust of a black person would have been due to unreasoning racism, or informed judgement.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  27. @26. In my situation they were clearly using the LAX area for ‘training’ for part of that day – that ‘T’ residential intersection made for ripe pickings as multiple drivers were stopped ‘rolling through’ at 2 or 3 mph., to ‘see’ down around the corner but believe as mine was among the first few, the pulled piece was a ‘one off,’ but the agitation displayed was unnerving. Still get bothered just thinking about it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  28. The one thing I’ve learned about these kinds of situations is that we don’t really know what happened yet. Whatever anyone says about it right now is guesswork at best.

    Time123 (b0f92c)

  29. 28. That doesn’t change my opinion that if you come from a military background and you can’t turn it off, you have no business being a civilian police officer. End. Of. Story.

    Gryph (08c844)

  30. I’m presuming that few if any commenting have ever been a street-level LEO.

    MJN1957 (6f981a)

  31. 30. I pay my taxes. On that basis and that alone, I have every right to critique the agents of state violence.

    Gryph (08c844)

  32. #29

    I agree. We ask 18, 19, 20-year-old infantry to abide by very strict rules of engagement in areas where nearly everyone has a firearm in concealed or open carry. In Long Beach a few years ago the cops shot a guy who was drunk at his friend’s patio holding a hose nozzle.
    Overall, I blame bad guys with guns, but I also know that game wardens regularly contact multiple armed persons suspected of violating laws without shooting anyone

    steveg (354706)

  33. I think a lot of urban area cops see all firearms or all movements they interpret as potential firearm movements as a reason to shoot first. They work in a bubble where only “criminals have guns” and people of a certain race or two are most likely to have those illegal guns.
    Are the cops right that those particular races tend to have illegal guns and to use them? Probably. How to work around that? Maybe assume everyone is legally armed and approach accordingly?
    I was watching TV the other day and got bored. Watched a Game warden in Maine, by himself with no backup, approach a suspected group of heavily armed poachers. Maybe urban cops can learn a few things from the “hicks”.

    steveg (354706)

  34. A fish rots from the head down. Matriarchies are unhealthy and both the mayor and police chief of Phoenix are women.

    nk (dbc370)

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