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Phoenix officer in Dravon Ames viral shoplifting incident to be fired, police chief confirms

Posted: 1:35 PM, Oct 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-23 10:35:24-04
Phoenix police shoplifting incident
Christopher Meyer.png

PHOENIX — Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams says she is firing Officer Christopher Meyer following an internal investigation into a use of force incident earlier this year that got national attention.

“The Disciplinary review board (DRB) recommended [Meyer] receive a six-week unpaid suspension, but the decision on discipline is mine,” said Chief Williams. “And after meeting with the officer Chris Meyer personally, and considering all the facts of the case, I have notified him of my intention to terminate his employment.”

In June, the Phoenix Police Department opened an investigation into some of its officers and how they handled the shoplifting-theft incident involving 22-year-old Dravon Ames.

At an impromptu news conference, Ames reacted to news of the firing. “I think it’s a step in the right direction, change,” said Ames. “It gives us hope you know, it gives us a little hope that they are moving in the right direction. That change is coming and this stuff will stop happening, people will know there are consequences even for officers.”

The decision comes after witness cell phone video went international and sparked a nationwide outcry for accountability and specifically Meyer’s termination.

The second officer in the video, who held pregnant mother Iesha Harper and her young daughters at gunpoint, was given a written reprimand, a recommendation that Chief Williams accepted.

“I think he should’ve been fired too,” said Harper.

The entire situation was traumatizing, the family says, and thrust them into the spotlight of cable news appearances and online harassment.

“Some nights we don’t get no sleep. Some nights you just still think about what happened,” said Ames. “So to know that he’s been fired gives us some type of relief, but there is still a lot more work to be done.”

Ames is referring to work to reform the police department, as well as work regarding the family’s impending settlement with the city.

“This is partial justice for my clients. For them to get full justice, the job is now mine to get them compensation in the lawsuit,” said attorney Tom Horne. “We will try to mediate, if the city is reasonable, we will settle.”

Horne would not put a price tag on what a reasonable settlement would look like for the family.

The Ames-Harper family filed a notice of claim for $10 million, which includes $2.5 million for their two children.

According to the family’s attorneys, the city has agreed to a mediation that has been scheduled for December 18.

After the case gained national attention, Chief Williams called for an investigation by the Professional Standards Bureau.

See video below of Chief Williams announcing the decision at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

A second officer involved in the incident has been given a written reprimand after the investigations.