Tempe police release video of Dravon Ames’ 2018 assault, DUI arrest
PHOENIX – Body camera video released Wednesday shows Tempe police officers struggling with Dravon Ames and using Tasers to subdue him after a traffic accident last year.
Ames is the man in the Phoenix dollar store shoplifting case that became national news after cellphone video of an aggressive police response went viral.
In the Tempe case, police responded to a two-vehicle collision at Rural Road and University Drive at around 5 a.m. on Oct. 31.
Police ended up charging Ames with driving under the influence of drugs and two counts of aggravated assault on an officer.
Ames is awaiting trial, set for Oct. 10, on the assault charges after being indicted in November, and he pleaded guilty to the DUI charge on June 11, Tempe police said in a press release.
Rev. Jarrett Maupin, who is advising Ames, discussed the Tempe case last month with KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos.
“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,” Maupin said during the interview. “And I’ve got pictures of the kid that looks like the whole Klan had him over for a beating party”
Police acknowledged that they’d hit Ames in the face several times while trying to detain him.
Tempe police released body camera footage (WARNING: explicit language) Wednesday from three officers, two who initially responded and a third who arrived after Ames had been subdued.
Police reports said, and the video supports, that Ames displayed signs on impairment and admitted to “dabbing” marijuana.
The responding officers’ videos show Ames standing in the middle of the street as traffic passes.
The two officers speak with Ames for about four minutes with no physical confrontation.
The video gets shaky after they tell Ames he is being detained and grab his wrists. A struggle ensues and lasts just under a minute, ending with the deployment of Tasers.
During the struggle, one of the officers can be heard saying that Ames tried to kick him in the groin, and one of the body cameras falls to the ground, facing up, and continues to record.
After the physical altercation ends, one of the officers says Ames went for his gun during the struggle.
The third officer arrives on the scene and puts handcuffs on Ames, who is lying face down in the road with Taser wires still attached to the stun guns held by the first two officers.
Ames continues to complain throughout the video, but there was no fighting after the Tasers were used.
The video shows officers removing the wires from Ames’ body while he claims they are sticking something else into him.
Maupin said during his Mac & Gaydos interview in June 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.
Maupin released a statement Wednesday on behalf of the Ames-Harper family:
“The Ames-Harper Family is not entertaining comparisons of apples and oranges. What happened with Tempe Police was an injustice and any video from that incident in no way, shape, or form justifies or validates the abusive and criminal acts of Phoenix Police. This attempt to smear Mr. Ames, coordinated by law enforcement, is sick and it is all about trying to distract the public from their palpable outrage about a compliant and peaceful Black family being violated in unimaginable ways by police officers with records of engaging in wanton abuse. We have decided, in response to this, to release photographs that detail Dravon’s injuries at the hands of Tempe Police. We will not comment beyond the facts, our lawsuits and pursuits of criminal prosecution of dangerous police officers speaks for itself. This is an attempted digital lynching. Pure twaddle.”
One of the officers was treated for an injured thumb after the incident, although it wasn’t broken, and missed a period of work, according to the police press release.
Ames and Iesha Harper have filed a $10 million claim against the city of Phoenix over a May 27 incident that started in a dollar store and ended in an apartment parking lot, where the viral video was captured.
The footage shows one officer with his gun pulled making threats and using profanity toward the pregnant Harper while she held a baby. Another officer can be seen roughly handling Ames and kicking his leg.
That video prompted an ongoing internal investigation by the Phoenix Police Department and spurred anti-police protests at City Council meetings and a community town hall.
Scroll through photos below of photos Maupin sent the media of what they say are Ames’ injuries from the incident.