A Phoenix officer will be fired for pulling a gun on the parents of a 4-year-old girl who allegedly stole a doll from a Family Dollar store, the police chief says.
Officer Christopher Meyer will be terminated following an internal investigation into his use of force in the May incident caught on video, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said at a press conference Tuesday.
The Phoenix Police Department gave a second officer involved in the incident a written reprimand, and the police chief agreed with the decision. The board recommended Meyer receive a six-week unpaid suspension, but Williams did not think that disciplinary action would suffice.
“In this case, a 240-hour suspension is just not sufficient to reverse the adverse effects of his cations on our department and our community,” Williams said.
The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. CNN has also attempted to reach Meyer for comment.
The couple, Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper, said they didn’t notice their daughter had walked out with a Barbie from the store on May 29.
After they left the store, they pulled into an apartment complex to drop their daughter off at a babysitter, Ames said. Then an officer began banging against their window, yelling and threatening to kill them.
“Our hands are up, we’re just trying not to get shot, trying to stay calm,” Ames said. “He had a gun drawn.”
In the 12-minute video shot by bystanders and posted on Facebook, one officer can be seen handcuffing Ames, first on the ground and then against a police car. The officer kicks Ames and can be heard yelling multiple times, “When I tell you to do something, you f****** do it.”
Ames said there were no sirens or lights to indicate they were being pulled over beforehand and the man pointing a gun at them did not immediately identify himself as an officer.
Another officer appeared to be pulling a gun on the passenger side of the couple’s vehicle before Harper exited the car, holding a small child, with a second child by her side.
An officer attempted to yank the child from her arms before a bystander offers to take her children.
Harper, who was five months pregnant at the time, said she was terrified.
“I really thought he was gonna shoot me in front of the kids,” she said. She chose to give her two children to a “complete stranger because I didn’t trust the police to have her.”
During the video, officers can be heard telling her to get her hands up.
The police chief said she was disturbed by the language and the actions of our officer.
“I assure you that this incident is not representative of the majority of Phoenix police officers who serve this city,” Williams said.
Earlier this year, the couple filed a notice to sue the city for $10 million.