Who Are Drevon Ames And Iesha Harper? New Details On The Phoenix Couple And Their Kids Who Were Terrorized By Police

Photo: Fox 10 Phoenix
Who Are Drevon Ames And Iesha Harper? New Details On The Phoenix Couple And Their Kids Who Were Terrorized By Police

A viral video released last week shows Phoenix, Arizona officers terrorizing a young family after they allegedly shoplifted items from a Dollar Store. In the video taken by witnesses of the arrest, the couple and their two very young children pulled into a parking lot and were immediately confronted by police, who appeared without warning. The police demanded that Drevon Ames and Iesha Harper exit their vehicle, without explaining why. The officers used foul language, threatened to shoot both of the adults, physically assaulted Ames and tried to get Harper to put her one-year-old baby down on the scorching hot pavement so she could put her hands up instead of holding the child.

Once in custody, the couple admitted to shoplifting some low-value items but the store declined to press charges. In fact, the store had not even alerted the police; a witness started the whole chain of events, leading to the brutal arrest for a non-violent misdemeanor. The lawyer representing Ames and Harper says “[The officers] held toddlers and a pregnant woman at gunpoint, grabbed a mother and infant by the neck, dislocated a 1-year-old’s arm, endangered a delicate pregnancy, terrorized and tortured a young father, and nobody was charged or jailed. These officers must be held accountable. We want justice.”

The officers have since been placed on paid desk duty pending an investigation. The couple is suing the city of Phoenix.

Who are Drevon Ames and Iesha Harper? Read on to find out.

1. Shoplifting

According to reporting by The Heavy, the couple and their two children were seen in a Dollar Store and surveillance video shows evidence of what could have been shoplifting. Ames may have taken a pair of underwear and their four-year-old daughter walked out of the store with a doll. The store did not make a report and is now declining to file charges. A witness alerted the officers who went on to follow the family as they drove away.

The video contradicts the report police later filed.

2. Arrest

After the family left the store, The Heavy reports that they pulled into a nearby apartment building and found themselves under siege by police. In the lawsuit filed by the couple, they describe the situation as “There had been no sirens or lights prior to that indicating that they should stop their car. A police officer, who we believe is named Meyer, came to the front driver side of the car with a gun pulled, pulled open the door, and stated to the father: 'I’m going to put a cap in your ass.’ Later he stated: ‘I’m gonna shoot you in your fucking face.’ Both statements were in front of the children in the back of the car.” This account can be verified by the videos taken of the incident by neighbors.

The report goes on to say: 'The first officer then pointed the gun again at the mother and the children. The second officer walked around the car and continued to point a gun at the mother and the children. The mother was pregnant, which was obvious from her appearance. The mother and children exited from the rear driver's side. The first officer grabbed the mother and the baby around both of their necks and tried to take the baby out of the mother’s hand. He told her to put the baby on the ground, which she was unwilling to do because the baby could not walk, and the ground was hot pavement. The first officer pulled the baby by the arm to get her away from the mother, which injured the child's arm, in a condition known as ‘dead arm.’ Officers kept both adults in police cars for a time after the arrest, during which The first officer, Myers, came back and yelled at her. He kept saying “I could have shot you in front of your fuc*ing kids.” Officer tried to justify their actions by saying that they thought the visible pregnant Harper, who was sitting in the back of a car with two children under the age of five, was armed and reaching for a weapon. She was not armed, nor was Ames.

According to the website of attorney Cindy Castillo:  “Shoplifting merchandise with a value of less than $1,000.00 is a class one (1) misdemeanor unless the merchandise is a firearm in which case the shoplifting charge is a class six (6) felony. The range of punishment for a class one (1) misdemeanor is anywhere from zero (0) days in jail up to six (6) months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500.00 plus an 84% surcharge; and probation up to three (3) years.” Nowhere in the Arizona code of law is the provision for officers putting a “cap in your ass” as part of typical shoplifting prosecution.

The video is damning.

RELATED:  Who Is Meldrick Taylor? New Details On The Former Olympian Arrested In Armed Standoff With Philadelphia Police

3. Official response

Governor Doug Ducey weighed in on the incident saying he wants the investigation into the officer’s behavior to “play out.” He went on to say: “I think we all ought to behave as if we’re on camera, especially in a setting like this.” AZ Central says the governor went on to describe himself as "someone who sees the complexities in the job of being a first responder or a police officer.” He added, "I found the video unacceptable, but I also know there’s more to the story.” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego issued a statement wherein she said she was “sick about” what happened and called for an inquiry, saying: “I am deeply sorry for what this family went through, and I apologize to our community. This is not who we are, and I refuse to allow this type of behavior to go unchallenged.” She also announced a plan to speed up the distribution of body cameras for cops. She called for a public meeting on the incident, scheduled for Tuesday evening, June 18th.

The mayor issued a statement via social media.

4. Lawsuit

The couple has filed a suit against the City of Phoenix for damages. They have asked for $2.5 million per family member involved in the arrest, for a total of $10 million. They claim that in addition to the trauma of the event, Ames’ injuries and loss of his car when it was impounded means that he can no longer work, according to The Heavy.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

The couple doesn't feel that the apology is enough.

RELATED: Who Is Michelle Troconis? New Details On The CEO Arrested In Disappearance Of Jennifer Farber Dulos

5. Support

AZ Central reports that the family has gotten support from a powerful ally: Jay-Z. The philanthropic arm of his company ROC Nation is paying for the legal fees attached to the incident. According to a statement from the company, "There is no place for that behavior in our world — let alone our justice system — and we are calling for the immediate termination of the police officers in question. We are committed to supporting the family to ensure that justice is served.”

Jay-Z is helping with legal fees.

At this time, the officers are still employed y the Phoenix police department. All investigations and lawsuits are pending. 

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.