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Phoenix To Pay $475,000 To Family In Police Video

Phoenix will pay nearly half a million dollars to a couple after police officers pointed guns at them and one threatened to shoot the father in front of his kids.

Fifteen months after a bystander’s video went viral, Phoenix approved a $475,000 settlement. The May 2019 video showed officers cursing and pointing guns at Dravon Ames, his pregnant fiancee, Iesha Harper, and their two young daughters. Police said the family was suspected of shoplifting and failed to obey commands. 

“As far as I know, people are still innocent until proven guilty and no one — not the officers, not the media, not us or any of our staff — has the right to judge them or use an allegation as an excuse,” said Councilmember Carlos Garcia.

He thanked the family for their “persistence in seeking justice” during Wednesday’s council meeting.

“The money won’t take away the trauma or the harm that’s been caused but I hope that the children will have a better life for it,” he said. 

The council approved the payout 6-2 with Councilman Jim Waring and Councilwoman Thelda Williams voting no.

Video of the incidentwas shared on social media and reported by news outlets across the country. Harper and Ames were not charged in the incident. One police officer was fired, another received a written reprimand. 

For fiscal years 2007-2008 to 2017-2018, Phoenix paid more than $26 million to settle 191 claims. For fiscal years 2000-2001 to 2007-2008, Phoenix records show payments of more than $9 million to settle 13 claims.

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As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.