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Phoenix council approves $475,000 civil rights abuse settlement

Posted at 3:00 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 14:29:22-05

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council has voted 6-2 in favor of settling a legal claim for a phoenix family who claimed officers used excessive force when they were accused of shoplifting.

Dravon Ames, Iesha Harper, and their children were stopped and confronted by officers in May 2019. Phoenix officers held their young family at gunpoint and screamed obscenities, and Officer Christopher Meyer leg swept a handcuffed Ames, who appeared to be complying. They were not arrested nor charged in the shoplifting case.

A witness captured video of the police encounter that went viral, and the couple filed a notice of claim against Phoenix alleging civil rights violations.

Phoenix City Council voted Wednesday to settle with Harper for $475,000. Sources familiar with the negotiations tell ABC15 that Ames will receive $25,000, which is under the threshold to need council approval.

The Ames-Harper case led to reform within the Phoenix Police Department. Chief Jeri Williams apologized to the family, and she started requiring all patrol officers to wear body cameras and report every time they point a gun at a person. Officer Christopher Meyer was fired.