Viral shoplifting video case wasn’t Phoenix man’s first run-in with police

Jun 18, 2019, 4:53 PM | Updated: 7:12 pm

Rev. Jarrett Maupin, left, Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper during a press conference on Monday, June 1...

Rev. Jarrett Maupin, left, Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper during a press conference on Monday, June 17, 2019. (KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)

(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX – The Phoenix man whose shoplifting case became national news over viral videos of a police confrontation faces charges for allegedly assaulting Tempe officers last year, but his adviser is claiming brutality in that case, too.

Dravon Ames was arrested Oct. 31, the day after his 22nd birthday, after getting into a fight with two officers responding to a vehicle collision at Rural Road and University Drive in Tempe, according to court documents.

Rev. Jarrett Maupin, a civil rights activist who has been advocating for Ames, Iesha Harper and her two young children in the Phoenix case, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday that he has video of the Tempe officers beating Ames.

Officers said they attempted to detain Ames because he was acting erratically and wouldn’t respond to questions, according to the probable cause statement.

Ames allegedly reached for an officer’s gun during the struggle that ensued. One officer struck Ames in the face three to five times, and the other subdued him with a stun gun.

One of the officers was treated for an injured thumb after the incident, although it wasn’t broken.

Last month, a grand jury indicted Ames on two charges of aggravated assault, one a class 4 felony and one a class 5 felony.

Maupin said Ames had run out of gas and was trying to move his car, which differs from the police account.

“I can acknowledge that I have videotape from his encounter with the Tempe Police Department that shows two guys coming up to a young man whose car ran out of gas on his birthday, and he was pushing his car out of the street,” Maupin said.

The officers said Ames was standing by his car, which had been in a collision. They said he wouldn’t move out of the roadway, where it wasn’t safe, so they moved to detain him.

Officers also said they smelled marijuana in the vehicle and Ames admitted to having smoked it.

“And I have video that shows these two guys who are over 6 feet and over 180 pounds each beating the snot out of somebody and then one of them had the audacity to file a complaint for being assaulted because their thumb was bent back. And I’ve got pictures of the kid that looks like the whole Klan had him over for a beating party.”

Maupin said he can’t speak to the evidence Tempe police has about the incident.

“I can only tell you what we’ve seen. I haven’t seen what Tempe has put out. I can only tell you [about] the video we have seen. The photographs we have seen. The medical reports we have seen,” he said.

“So no I’m not getting ready to indict someone’s character because you think you know something.”

Last week, the family’s representatives released two bystander videos of the police confrontation in a parking lot at an apartment complex at 32nd and Roosevelt streets.

Police followed Ames’ vehicle, in which Harper, a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old were passengers, in response to a shoplifting report at a nearby Family Dollar store.

The family has been saying the incident involved a doll the 4-year-old took from the store.

The videos, which propelled the case into national headlines, show an officer roughly handling Ames and at one point kicking his leg after he was handcuffed.

They also show an officer with his gun pulled threatening Harper, who is pregnant, and using expletives while she is holding the baby.

The family filed a claim of notice last week, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, seeking $10 million.

Ames and Harper accused the officers of battery, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest, infliction of emotional distress and violation of the civil rights in the claim (warning: explicit language).

Before the claim was filed, the Phoenix Police Department said it launched an internal investigation of the officers’ response after seeing the videos.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

electric vehicle charging plan...

Serena O'Sullivan

ADOT to host virtual meeting on EV charging station plan

The Arizona Department of Transportation on Wednesday invited the public to share their input on an electric vehicle charging plan.

1 hour ago

Split panel of a man and two children responding to fireworks on the left, and a fireworks display ...

Kevin Stone

Ooh, ahh: Phoenix launches fireworks show season this weekend with After Dark in the Park

The 2024 Phoenix fireworks show season launches this weekend with After Dark in the Park, the first of three city celebrations.

2 hours ago

Stage 2 level fire restrictions soon to be set in place in Arizona...

Serena O'Sullivan

Multiple Arizona recreation areas implementing Stage 2 fire restrictions

Authorities will implement Stage 2 level fire restrictions for various areas in northern Arizona starting at 8 a.m. on Friday.

4 hours ago


KTAR Video

Video: Maricopa County Attorney on elder abuse, update on ‘Gilbert Goon’ suspect arrest after sentence

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell joins Arizona’s Morning News to talk about efforts to stop elder abuse. She also says her office will petition to revoke probation after a suspected member of the Gilbert Goons, Jacob Pennington, was arrested on alcohol charges shortly after being sentenced in two separate assault cases. Video: Jeremy Schnell and […]

5 hours ago

Superstition Downtown in Phoenix is closing its doors Sunday...

Serena O'Sullivan

Popular bar, restaurant in downtown Phoenix known for its flavorful mead will shut down this week

Superstition Meadery, a bar and restaurant that serves flavorful varieties of mead, is closing its Phoenix location.

6 hours ago

A headshot of fallen Scottsdale Police Detective Ryan So overlayed on a partial map of the processi...

Funeral, procession set for fallen Scottsdale Police Detective Ryan So

Fallen Scottsdale Police Detective Ryan So will be honored Thursday morning with a procession through the city following funeral services.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Viral shoplifting video case wasn’t Phoenix man’s first run-in with police