Family demands changes after viral incident with Phoenix police, calls apologies a sham

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- The family suing the Phoenix Police Department after a now-viral incident, held a press conference Monday addressing the situation.

The video that has been watched by millions around the country shows officers yelling profanities, kicking a man's legs, and pointing a gun at a pregnant woman and her two children.

Both the Mayor of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Chief have apologized for the incident.

"At the end of the day, though, we owe the community an apology. We owe the family an apology, but there's more to the story," said Chief Jeri Williams, in an interview on FOX 10. Chief Williams was originally scheduled to take part in a live interview on FOX 10 Monday afternoon, but cancelled the interview at the last minute.

Chief Jeri Williams said body cameras will be rolled out faster for all officers and that is expected to be done in August.

The family, meanwhile, said they do not accept either apology, calling them a sham at the press conference. Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper have filed a notice of claim to sue for $10 million dollars.

Police said it started with a shoplifting report from a Family Dollar store where a 4-year-old girl and her aunt stole a doll and underwear. The family denied the shoplifting in the press conference, and the store is not pressing any charges.

"I would have bought that doll had I knew. You know it's not that serious," said Harper.

In video released by Phoenix Police Monday, Harper's daughter can be seen warning towards her mother, with the box in clear view, and the family turns to head out the door. In a portion of the video, Ames was seen with what could be interpreted as a bulge in his pants, and the view from the doorway shows a man trying to figure out what to do, as an officer heads into the store.

40 seconds after the family left, however, the officers leave the frame, clearly looking to stop them.

In earlier portions of the video, Ames was seen looking at the underwear rack, and walking away. When the video is frozen, people may see something in his hand that wasn't there before.

Ames and Harper's heir lawyer stated they would like to see better officers and training. During the press conference, reporters tried to press the Ames family and supporters to explain the alleged shoplifting incident that led up to the now-infamous exchange. Specifically, reporters asked about the allegedly stolen underwear.

"Police are putting guns to my daughter's face, and you're asking me about drawers," said Ames.

There will be a community meeting about the incident Tuesday at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church near 16th Street and Washington at 6 p.m. Mayor Kate Gallego and Chief Jeri Williams as well as the family are attending.

The family says they will also be at the city council meeting on Wednesday. Meanwhile, officials with the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) also released a statement on the incident.