The Arizona family who was forced to stare down the barrel of a police officer’s gun in a disturbing viral video are receiving support from everyone from the mayor of Phoenix to Jay-Z.
In late May, irate police officers brandishing their firearms over an alleged shoplifting incident at a Dollar Store confronted Dravon Ames, Iesha Harper and their two children, ages 1 and 4. The unidentified officers approached the couple after one of their daughters walked out of the store with a doll.
Residents of an apartment complex recorded an extremely troubling video showing the police officers threaten to shoot the couple, violently detain them both, and point guns at the couple’s crying children.
After the video went viral, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego issued an apology to the family saying she was "sick over what I have seen in the video depicting Phoenix police interacting with a family and young children."
"It was completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional. There is no situation in which this behavior is ever close to acceptable. As a mother myself, seeing these children placed in such a terrifying situation is beyond upsetting. I am deeply sorry for what this family went through, and I apologize to our community,” the statement read.
Additionally, a philanthropy group within Jay-Z's Roc Nation has signed on to help the family with their legal battle against the department.
Team Roc spokesman Didier Morais said Sunday the group is calling for the firing of the officers and ensuring "the well-being of the children," reported AZ Central.
"Team ROC has secured high-profile attorney Alex Spiro to join the family's legal team pro-bono and plans on filing against one of the officers for child neglect," Morais told the local news outlet.
Ames and Harper have also filed a notice of claim against the city for $10 million. Thomas Horne, an attorney for the couple, told CNN's "New Day" if the city doesn't respond to the claim within 60 days, they can file a lawsuit.
"One of the things I think is sometimes missed in all of this is the amount of violence that Dravon was subjected to. The policeman pointed a gun at him, yanked him out of the car, forced him to the ground, pushed his head into the very hot asphalt pavement, handcuffed him too tight, yanked him up, closed the door by hitting his head against the door,” Horne said.
"Lined him up against the car. Kicked his knee so hard that Dravon is limping now and can't work at the warehouse where he was working, which involves physical work, Punched him in the back. He was really subjected to a lot of violence. The same thing was done to the mother,” he added. The attorney also explained how Harper "gave her child to a stranger because she was so afraid of the police.”
(Photo: ABC 15 Arizona)
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