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Mayor apologizes after US police threaten black family

Mayor apologizes after US police threaten black family
'This is not who we are, and I refuse to allow this type of behavior to go unchallenged,' says Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) - The mayor of Phoenix, Arizona issued an apology after police drew guns and made threatening remarks to a black family last month following an alleged shoplifting incident.

Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper reportedly left a local dollar store with their one- and four-year-old daughters May 29 when they noticed the older sibling had a doll from the store they did not buy.

Video released by police last week appears to show Ames being handcuffed after police showed up to a parking lot. Harper is in the backseat with the two children as a second officer commands her to exit the vehicle.

"You are not complying with me," the officer says as he opens the backdoor of the vehicle with his weapon drawn. "When I tell you to do something you [expletive] do it."

A separate video shot at ground-level appears to show the officer who commanded Harper to leave the car commanding her to "get out of the [expletive] car right now." She tells him the door nearest her, which would have opened to his side, is broken and will not open.

"I am deeply sorry for what this family went though, and I apologize to our community. This is not who we are, and I refuse to allow this type of behavior to go unchallenged," Mayor Kate Gallego said in a statement Saturday.

Gallego said she was speeding the implementation of body cameras for police officers and called for a community meeting to address problems that people have faced with law enforcement officials. Police Chief Jeri Williams will be present at the meeting to listen to concerns of residents.

Williams also issued an apology to Ames and Harper, saying the incident is "not representative of the majority of Phoenix Police officers who serve this city."

Police said they launched an internal investigation into the incident.

The couple filed a $10 million lawsuit against the police department, $2.5 million for each of the parents and each of the children, alleging police committed a slew of unlawful actions, including rights violations, battery, unlawful imprisonment and false arrest, according to NBC News.

A claim filed in court alleges one of the officers told Harper: "I could have shot you in front of your [expletive] kids."

source: News Feed
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