Anti-police protesters take center stage at Phoenix City Council meeting
PHOENIX – An adviser for the family in the viral video of a disturbing confrontation with Phoenix police made a formal request Wednesday at City Hall to have two officers involved fired.
Joined by Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper and a group of their family members, Rev. Jarrett Maupin submitted a citizen petition during the public comment session of a regularly scheduled City Council meeting.
The petition recounts the now-infamous May 27 incident in an apartment complex parking lot and concludes with the request “to terminate the employment of ‘Officer Meyer’ and ‘Officer John Doe’ and suspend without pay/demote/retrain all other officers involved” within 15 days.
Ames, 22, told councilmembers that he and his family “could have lost their lives over something senseless … over a 4-year-old taking a doll.”
He said it is “sad” the officers are still employed.
Ames added, “I guess our lives are worth less than a 99-cent doll.”
Protesters angered by videos that went public last week of officers pointing guns and yelling obscenities the family suspected of shoplifting crowded the chambers to demand police reforms.
Scores of people began assembling about an hour before the meeting carrying signs and banners with slogans such as, “Fire the Police” and “Stop Police Brutality and Impunity.”
Once the meeting began, speakers called on the council to fire the officers involved in the videotaped incident and to set up a board of civilians to oversee changes in police department procedures.
“You cannot pass the budget until you fire the cops,” resident Jennifer Hernandez told the council, who was scheduled to discuss the city’s annual spending plan, which includes police funding. “It is our lives on the line.”
The protesters shouted down City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, calling him a racist when he defended the police officers.
“You are anarchists and you are out to destroy the city,” DiCiccio told the demonstrators in the audience.
The new protest followed a Tuesday night meeting that drew hundreds of people to a downtown church to address the videos, which were taken by bystanders who watched police confront Ames and Harper, his pregnant fiancee, who was holding her 1-year-old daughter. The couple say their 4-year-old daughter took a doll from a store without their knowledge.
The store decided not to prosecute, and no charges have been filed.
The couple filed a $10 million notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, against the city alleging civil rights violations.
The Phoenix Police Department has said an investigation into the officers’ actions is underway.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.