Phoenix City Council approves settlement in viral shoplifting case

Aug 26, 2020, 3:41 PM | Updated: 3:44 pm

Dravon Ames, left, answers a question as Iesha Harper, right, joins her fiancee during a news confe...

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council approved a $475,000 settlement Wednesday in the case of a family that accused Phoenix police of serious misconduct after their 4-year-old daughter accidentally stole a doll from a store.

Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper received the settlement after an encounter with police in May 2019 got widepresad attention when video of officers using excessive force.

The council passed the motion 6-2, with council members Jim Waring and Thelda Williams voting no.

“The money won’t take away the trauma or the harm that’s been caused, but I hope the children have a better life for it,” Councilman Carlos Garcia said.

The initial claim asked for $10 million in damages, accusing police of battery, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest, infliction of emotional distress and violation of the family’s civil rights.

The 2019 incident happened after employees at a store told officers who responded to an unrelated shoplifting case that the couple’s 4-year-old daughter had taken a doll. Ames and Harper, who was five months pregnant at the time, didn’t know about the doll and had already driven away. Police followed them to an apartment complex.

Ames has said officers didn’t use lights or sirens before walking over to the couple’s parked car, with their 4-year-old and 1-year-old daughters also inside.

Videos recorded by witnesses showed officers can be heard yelling and cursing at the couple.

In another high profile case, the council voted to approve a $136,052.60 settlement in the case of Brush & Nib Studio against the City of Phoenix.

The case focused on not being able to force two Phoenix artists to design and create custom wedding invitations that conflicted with their personal beliefs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Phoenix City Council approves settlement in viral shoplifting case