An Arizona family is suing the city of Phoenix and their police department after a video of police officers drawing their weapons on the young family and threatening to shoot them went viral.
The incident was caught on camera by a civilian, which has led to a potential $10 million lawsuit and an internal police investigation, The Independent reports.
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On May 29, Dravon Ames and his pregnant fiancee, Iesha Harper, were on a family outing with their two children, London, 1, and Island, 4. Unbeknownst to her parents, Island had taken a doll from a Family Dollar Store, according to CBS.
The family said they had no knowledge of their daughter taking the doll until they had left the store, and the police pulled the family over. This is when an officer reportedly went up to Ames and pointed a gun at him.
The family says the viral video only captures the first five to 10 minutes of the encounter, in which a police officer can be seen telling Ames, "I'm going to put a cap in your ass."
Another police officer can be seen walking up to the car threatening Ames, yelling, "I'm going to shoot you in the f***ing face."
A notice of claim has been filed by former Arizona attorney general Thomas Horne, who is representing the family.
According to the claim, Ames was pulled out of the car, kicked in the right leg and punched in the back. A gun was also allegedly pointed at Harper and couple's two children, while they remained in the car, CBS reports.
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"The first officer grabbed the mother and the baby around both of their necks, and tried to take the baby out of the mother's hand," Horne has stated in his claim.
"He told her to put the baby on the ground, which she was unwilling to do because the baby could not walk, and the ground consisted of hot pavement," he said.
When Harper handed her children to a bystander, the officer threw her head first into the car, the claim states.
"I could have shot you in front of your f***cking kids," the officer yelled, according to the claim.
The claim reportedly went on to say that the Phoneix officers were not wearing body cameras, which is a violation of department rules.
"We're talking about a little doll that's worth maybe $5 and the horrors that came from the overreaction to that," Horne stated in the claim.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego has shared a statement on Twitter, saying the footage had made her "sick".
"It was completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional. There is no situation in which this behaviour is ever close to acceptable," she wrote.
The Phoenix Police Department has not responded to local media's requests for comment, but the department posted a video to Facebook featuring Phoenix police chief Jeri Williams.
Williams states in the video that she disturbed by the footage.
"This incident is not representative of the majority of Phoenix police officers who serve this city," she said.
Williams goes onto say that she began an internal investigation as soon as she was aware of the footage.
Horne told the Washington Post the city has 60 days to respond before he files the lawsuit.