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Phoenix Police launch probe of officer’s leg sweep of cuffed suspect

PHOENIX – A cellphone video showing a Phoenix police officer sweep kicking the legs out from under a handcuffed man has prompted the department to launch an investigation of the incident.

The department said in a Facebook post Tuesday that the officers had responded to a call of shoplifting from a store near 32nd and Roosevelt streets.

The video also showed another officer with weapons drawn pointing into a red four-door SUV, which had been pulled over in connection with the shoplifting. A woman and two small girls stepped out.

The video begins with Dravon Ames, 22, lying on the ground, face down, being handcuffed. The officer pulled him to his feet, then led Ames to one of the patrol vehicles.

Pushing Ames against the back of the vehicle, the officer followed with a sweep kick that dropped him to one knee.

Ames said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon that he and his family were never pulled over. “We never got sirens,” he said. “The officer didn’t turn his lights on.”

He said they had pulled into the apartment complex where their baby sitter lives and suddenly someone with a gun came up the car and began banging on the window, threatening to shoot.

“It was a very scary moment. I’m trying my best not to get shot,” Ames said. “And she’s trying to protect our kids.”

Iesha Harper was also detained.

“Over a dollar store doll,” she said. Harper, who is pregnant, said she and Ames were unaware the 4-year-old had taken it.

A representative for the family said at the press conference they were seriously considering a lawsuit.

“Videos don’t tell the whole story, but what you do see is understandably concerning,” retired Phoenix Sgt. Darren Burch told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Wednesday.

“Good for Phoenix PD to do an investigation,” Burch said.

He said the leg sweep was taught as a preventative measure, so suspect couldn’t rear back from a car and push against an officer.

“You sweep their legs to such a degree that it’s awkward for them. He overdid it,” Burch said of the officer.

The TV station also reported that the officer who put the man in handcuffs was still working but on nonenforcement assignment. The other officer was on regular duty.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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