Dravon Ames, who along with his family were threatened and held at gunpoint by police in Phoenix over the accidental theft of a $1 Barbie doll, is letting the world know what he experienced during the incident late last month.
The 22-year-old and his 24-year-old partner Iesha Harper, who is six-months pregnant, held a press conference over the nearly tragic events of May 27.
A bystander took a video that went viral last week of numerous police pointing their guns at the couple and their 1-year-old and 4-year-old daughters, demanding they exit the vehicle they were in at their apartment complex parking lot. Police can be heard yelling profanity and screaming at the family to “put their f*****g hands up.”
Fighting back tears at a Monday (June 17) press conference, Ames says he believed his family was going to be massacred by police.
“I thought we were all going to be executed. By the grace of God, someone was there to video this,” he said. Police claim Ames also stole underwear from the dollar store they reportedly departed from minutes before the incident occurred. He denies that’s the case.
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams issued an apology via her department’s Facebook page on Friday and announced an internal investigation into the incident.
“I, like you, am disturbed by the language and the actions of our officers,” she said on video. “For those of you who have made public comments and have contacted me personally about the video, I get it. Your concerns are also my concerns.”
Williams voiced similar comments to KTVK on Sunday, saying, “I am disappointed. I’m sorry and I apologize to the family. We are all angry about this. We are all upset about this. This is not what should be happening.”
“The police put a gun in my daughter's face and you're asking me about some drawers?” Ames said to reporters. “That's insensitive, that's insulting.” He also rejected police chief Jeri Williams’ apology, claiming it did nothing for his family.
“It feels like a half apology. The officers are still working. It's a slap in the face. It's like putting lemon juice on an open wound,” Ames said. “Everyone knows they are not fit to be policing.” Phoenix police have refused to name the multiple officers in the video, who have been put on desk duty pending the outcome of an investigation.
Since the video of their encounter with police went viral, Ames and his legal team, which now includes lawyers paid for by Jay-Z, are suing the City of Phoenix for $10 million.
Iesha Harper says her girls were traumatized by the incident and their trust of the police has been shattered.
“It was terrifying for me and my children. They've never been through anything like that,” she said. “I have always taught my daughter to depend on the police if something's happening, but she's terrified to this day.”
After the video went viral, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego also 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,” she said via a statement. “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.”
Ames nor Harper have been charged with any crime. Their legal team claims even if their clients stole the doll on purpose force that excessive by police should never have been used.
Photo: Fox 10