US: Phoenix police at center of shoplifting arrest had no body cameras - PressFrom - US
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USPhoenix police at center of shoplifting arrest had no body cameras

23:35  17 june  2019
23:35  17 june  2019 Source:   azcentral.com

Man Claiming To Be Police Officer Shoots And Kills Woman Caught Shoplifting At Walgreens

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A false claim has spread across social media that white Phoenix police officers turned off their body cameras during an aggressive encounter with an African-American family.

In reality, none of the officers in the precinct involved had body-worn cameras.

A record number of Phoenix police shootings in 2018 prompted the Phoenix City Council in February to fund the installation of 2,000 cameras across the department, according to police and activists. But the cameras have not yet been rolled out.

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Currently, only one in five sworn Phoenix officers are equipped with cameras, officials said.

Dravon Ames, 22, and his pregnant fiancee, 24-year-old Aisha Harper, were pulled over May 27 by Phoenix police near 36th and Roosevelt streets. They allege police pointed a gun at their children, threatened them and physically harmed Ames and their daughter because the child took a doll from a dollar store.

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The couple is demanding  $10 million from the city of Phoenix. A notice of claim filed Thursday says the police officers committed battery, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest and infliction of emotional distress in addition to violating their civil rights.

The inaccurate information about the body-worn cameras appears to have originated as a misunderstanding of an ABC15 KNXV-TV report that said "neither officer had a body camera or dash cam."

Family at center of viral arrest video slam ‘half’ apologies of Phoenix mayor and police, demand officers involved be fired

Family at center of viral arrest video slam ‘half’ apologies of Phoenix mayor and police, demand officers involved be fired The Phoenix family at the center of an arrest video which sparked national outrage criticized both the city’s mayor and chief of police Wednesday, calling their apologies “a slap in the face.” “We’ve been aware of apologies from the mayor and the chief, and, honestly, it really hasn’t done anything to help us ‘cause it feels like a half apology,” father Dravon Ames said during a press conference. “The officers are still working. It’s basically a slap in the face...it’s just hurting us even more that they’re still working.” Both Ames and his girlfriend Iesha Harper called for the officers involved to be fired.

Qasim Rashid, an activist and Democratic candidate for the Virginia Assembly, tweeted Saturday that police "turned off their dash cams & body cams." His tweet was shared 57,000 times.

The claim went viral again with a tweet from Jamil Smith, a Rolling Stone writer and advocate for police accountability. He inaccurately said Saturday the officers "turned off their body cameras." The tweet was shared 1,200 times.

Activist Jarrett Maupin said the misunderstanding stems from people thinking the Phoenix Police Department has made more progress on installing body cameras than it actually has.

Only about 600 body cameras have been deployed for a sworn force of 3,000, according to police officials.

"Every time someone's beaten or killed by the police, we ask the same question: 'Where are those cameras?'" Maupin, a spokesman for the family, said. "How could that many people in the Central City precinct turn up for an incident, including a lieutenant, and nobody has a body camera?"

The precinct where the incident occurred has received cameras since then, according to Sgt. Tommy Thompson.

Mayor Kate Gallego promised Saturday the police department would "streamline" body-cam deployment so that "every single precinct" would have them by August.

Thompson repeated the pledge Sunday: "We hope to have the whole city equipped by August."

MORE: Phoenix mayor calls police encounter with family 'inappropriate'

Phoenix police at center of shoplifting arrest had no body cameras© Provided by Gannett Co., Inc. More national attention

Democratic presidential candidates spoke out against police officers' treatment of the family.

Phoenix is largest U.S. city without widespread police body cameras

Phoenix is largest U.S. city without widespread police body cameras A video of Phoenix police officers cursing and pointing a gun at a couple prompted Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego to speed up deployment of body cameras.

Videos made by bystanders show officers pointing guns at Ames, Harper and their children and shouting, "You're going to get f--king shot!" and, "I'm going to put a cap in your ass."

A police report stated store employees accused the family of stealing "a bunch of toys" and Ames acknowledged taking a pair of underwear. The store declined to press charges.

Officer Christopher Meyer said he feared Harper might be "reaching for a weapon" because she told him she wouldn't put her hands up because her two children were in the car. Harper did not have a weapon.

Maupin said the police report is so "full of lies" that the inaccurate viral tweets represent the department "reaping what they sowed."

"A lot of those people that tweeted it out did so because police fostered the illusion that body cameras are widely used in the department," Maupin said.

Presidential candidate and former prosecutor Kamala Harris on Sunday called the police's response "indefensible."

"We want and expect law enforcement to protect and respect, not target and intimidate," she said on Twitter. "We need stronger, independent police oversight and bias training, to root out and prevent abuses."

Picayune man arrested after shoplifting from Walmart, dragging Slidell officer in car

Picayune man arrested after shoplifting from Walmart, dragging Slidell officer in car A Mississippi man was arrested Tuesday afternoon after he dragged a Slidell police officer with her car after shoplifting from Walmart, according to Slidell police. Robert E. Myers, 51, fled the store, but officers located him in the parking lot sitting in his truck, according to police. Two officers approached the truck and asked Myers to step out and speak with them. Myers refused and placed the truck in drive in an attempt to leave, according to the report. One officer tried to stop Myers, at which time he was dragged for a short distance through the Walmart parking lot, according to the report.

Julián Castro, the former San Antonio mayor and presidential candidate, said the officers should be held accountable.

"There is no reason to brandish a weapon on an unarmed pregnant mother holding a child," he said on Twitter.

Contact reporter Rebekah L. Sanders at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @RebekahLSanders.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix police at center of shoplifting arrest had no body cameras

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