Responding to media outrage over alleged excessive use of force, Police for the City of Phoenix, Arizona released surveillance camera footage of what happened prior to the incident.
The video taken at an east valley Family Dollar Store appears to show the entire family engaged in well practiced shoplifting.
Part of the clip taken inside the store shows the 4-year-old child holding a doll in a large cardboard package and showing it to a woman standing nearby the cash register, just inside the door.
After a verbal exchange that was not recorded, the child steps away a few feet near another adult. In what seems to be a calculated diversion, the woman near the register throws aside the roll of aluminum foil she is holding.
A casual observer might just think she grew impatient with the customer in front of her but a closer look makes it appear to be a carefully rehearsed signal.
As if on cue, the child, her mother, and another adult walk right out the door together with the child still holding the doll. The film clearly shows the adult shielding the doll from view of the cashier.
A later part of the clip shows suspect Dravon Ames “stealing a package of underwear,” according to police.
The outside view shows the family leaving the store. The video also depicts “a store employee telling a police officer, who was there investigating a different shoplifting incident, about the stolen items,” AZ Family reports.
Police allege that Ames was the driver of the car, in which the other suspects were passengers. The officer yelled for Ames to stop but instead he drove away.
The police report notes that “Ames threw the stolen underwear out the window.”
After fleeing to a nearby apartment complex, the family was confronted by police, which started all the controversy.
The way Ames describes what happened, “officers drew their guns and threatened to shoot him.” Officers insist “Ames wasn’t complying to show his hands and was reaching toward the middle of the car between the two seats.”
Lesha Harper, the front seat passenger, failed to raise her hands. She blamed that on having two children in the car.
Liberal activists have been widely circulating a separate piece of video that appears to show the officers with guns drawn and Ames being “kicked while in handcuffs.”
Despite all the commotion, nobody was arrested or charged with a crime.
Jeri Williams, Chief of Phoenix Police, formally apologized to the family over the incident and promises a full investigation.
Meanwhile, the family is taking advantage of their 15 minutes of fame.
“Honestly, it really hasn’t done anything to help us because this feels like it’s a half apology, like the officers are still worthy, and it’s just basically a slap in the face,” Ames exclaims. “It’s like putting some lemon juice on an open wound. It’s just hurting us even more.”
They decided to sue the city of phoenix for a cool $10 million.