Penzone OK with officials’ apologies to family in shoplifting incident

Jun 19, 2019, 4:55 AM | Updated: 9:07 am

Paul Penzone...

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone (AP File Photo/Matt York)

(AP File Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone believes it’s OK Phoenix’s police chief and mayor apologized to the family whose shoplifting case became national news over viral videos of a police confrontation.

Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday that apologizing for poor departmental conduct doesn’t necessarily affect due process of a situation, but rather allows for necessary transparency.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams and Mayor Kate Gallego over the weekend apologized to Dravon Ames, Iesha Harper and their family for videos Williams said of which she was “disturbed by the language and actions of our officer.”

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.

“Sometimes in law enforcement, we have to own it sometimes when we mess up or someone that represents our organization messes up and that’s OK because you build a stronger reputation by not letting those bad actions reflect on the greater population of those who do the job,” Penzone said.

Although the family has said it didn’t accept the apologies, Penzone won’t criticize Gallego and Williams for their effort.

“There have been times when you know there are certain aspects that stand on their own that they don’t meet your values or principles and there’s nothing wrong with having the courage and humility to say ‘you know what, we’re better than that’ or to apologize,” Penzone said.

“It was their decision to do what they felt appropriate and I’m not going to judge them for it. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or less of a leader. It just means you’re able to own it and take that hit often times for your team so that you can overcome it and be better off in the long run.”


We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Jamarr Dwayne Young, the suspect in fatal hit-and-run in Phoenix, in his May 16, 2024 Maricopa Coun...

Kevin Stone

Suspect indicted for allegedly killing bicyclist in hit-and-run as he fled police in Phoenix

A domestic violence suspect who allegedly killed a bicyclist in a hit-and-run collision as he fled police in Phoenix last month has been formally charged with multiple felonies.

51 minutes ago

Seniors in Sun City invited to dance the night away at prom event...

Serena O'Sullivan

Sun City senior center to host prom to fight loneliness, keep older locals healthy

Loneliness can be deadly. That's why Banner Health is inviting seniors in Sun City to join its first prom event for people over 60.

2 hours ago

A house is blackened after a fire involving two homemade electric vehicles in Phoenix on June 18, 2...

2 homemade electric vehicles catch fire inside garage at Phoenix home

Firefighters doused two homemade electric vehicles that were on fire in the garage of a Phoenix home on Tuesday morning.

2 hours ago

Stations are set up at an otherwise empty Maricopa County vote center. Maricopa County will operate...

Kevin Stone

Maricopa County reveals more than 220 vote center locations for July 30 primary election

Maricopa County revealed more than 220 vote center locations for the July 30 primary election. Here's how to find one near you.

3 hours ago

Warning label on social media? Arizona experts respond to idea...

Serena O'Sullivan

How could a social media warning label impact Arizona children and teens?

The Surgeon General of the U.S. said on Monday he wants a warning label on social media apps because they hurt young people's mental health.

5 hours ago

Two men are seen with stand-up paddle boards at Tempe Town Lake in this file photo. A search was la...

Body found during recovery operation at Tempe Town Lake

Dive teams on Tuesday morning reportedly recovered the body of a person who apparently drowned at Tempe Town Lake a day earlier.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Penzone OK with officials’ apologies to family in shoplifting incident