Top cop says, ‘240-hour suspension is just not a sufficient’ punishment for his offense
By Kia Morgan-Smith, The Grio
The Phoenix Police Department plans to axe a white police officer in the city who harassed a Black family by pulling guns on them, and accusing them of stealing from a Family Dollar Store.
The decision came after following a month-long internal investigation and the release of three surveillance videos that featured a father Dravon Ames, and his family being held at gunpoint.
Ames’ 4-year-old child was accused of stealing from a dollar store on May 27.
The videos that went viral showed the father, his pregnant fiancée, Iesha Harper, their two daughters and another woman, Renita Lynn Biscoe in the store. Police said the 4-year-old was walking out of the dollar store with a $1 Baby Alive doll, and accused the father of stealing a pack of underwear.
On Tuesday, Chief Jeri Williams said two officers involved in the confrontation with the family were sent to the Disciplinary Review Board. The board made recommendations to reprimand the first officer with a write up, and the second officer was handed a six-week unpaid suspension.
However, Williams felt the punishment for the second cop didn’t fit the offense so Williams followed up with the board. After considering the facts of the case and the second officer’s conduct, ABC News reports, she said she plans to give him the boot.
“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,” she said Tuesday.
“In this case, a 240-hour suspension is just not sufficient to reverse the adverse effects of his actions on our department and our community,” she explained.
Meyer has the option to appeal the decision. He is still on administrative leave.
“It was difficult for both of us — for me to make the decision and for him to take the call,” Williams said.
At issue is Meyer’s treatment and manhandling of the family members.
In the video, an overzealous officer is seen screaming at Harper, who not only has a child in her hand, but also reveals to officials that she is pregnant. The officer prompts and threatens Harper to put her hands up, despite her own protest that she is carrying a child in her arms, and cannot do so. Both Ames and Harper can be seen attempting to comply with officers as best as possible, while being yelled at, threatened and physically attacked.
In one video, Meyers reportedly yelled at Ames, “I’m gonna put a f——- cap in your f——- head.”
Another video appeared to show Meyer on top of Ames, handcuffing him, pulling him off the ground and then slamming him against a patrol car. He then kicked him between and legs, which made Ames fall down.
“When I tell you to do something, you f—— do it!” Meyer is heard yelling at Ames in the video.
Ames simply replied, “I’m sorry.”
“We wear this badge as a symbol of our commitment to a higher standard,” Williams said Tuesday. “One that won’t erode the trust of those we serve or tarnish the pride that is involved with being a Phoenix police officer.”
A lawsuit the family filed against the force is pending.
Two views on the incident…
This article originally appeared in The Grio.