ARIZONA NEWS

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.”

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Penzone OK with officials’ apologies to family in shoplifting incident