While tensions are extremely high and have been for quite some time, especially with regard to police and the black community, it’s important to recognize that no side is pure as snow. Each has bad actors that do things no one should be doing. While we may lack the hard numbers on just what percentage of which group are really bad actors, we know there are some in both.
However, one hallmark of a just society is the ability for the state to admit they screwed up. When the government pretends it’s infallible, that’s fertile ground for tyranny to take hold. When the government can say, “We made a mistake” then try to make it right, we’ve got something else entirely.
In Phoenix, the government admitted his officers screwed up, and now the city is paying.
The Phoenix City Council agreed to pay a settlement Wednesday after police pointed guns at a Black couple after their daughter took a doll from a store without their knowledge.
Iesha Harper and Dravon Ames will receive $475,000 after the May 2019 incident, which was caught on video.
According to Harper and Ames, the family left a Family Dollar location and drove away not knowing their youngest daughter had taken a doll. After an anonymous call to police about the missing doll, without turning on lights or sirens, police followed Harper and Ames back to an apartment complex and confronted them while they were still in the car.
“Next thing you know, a police officer … comes up, ‘Open the door,’ banging on the window with a gun, saying he’s gonna shoot us in the face, telling us to get out of the car,” Ames said.
In one of the videos recorded by a resident of the apartment complex, Officer Christopher Meyer points his gun at the car and says “You’re going to get f—— shot!” and “I’m going to put a cap in your ass.”
Meyer was fired over the incident and the former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne filed a $10 million lawsuit on the couple’s behalf. What they’re getting is a mere fraction of that, but this is a settlement, which assumes the couple is good with the amount.
Frankly, though, I think Meyer needs more than to be fired.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that a vehicle counts as a deadly weapon. However, Harper and Ames weren’t acting aggressively. Hell, they didn’t even realize there was a problem, apparently. Hell, even if they’d known about the doll the whole time, this is not an appropriate response to such a low-level crime. Not in the least.
As such, I’d argue this constitutes aggravated assault and he should be charged accordingly. Then again, maybe Harper and Ames declined that, just wanting to put this whole thing behind them. I honestly don’t know one way or another, but I do believe Meyer screwed the pooch here. Badly.
For their sake, though, I’m glad they got some kind of restitution from this. As it stands, there is likely to be trauma and distrust of the police for those children in the future, and I’m not sure I can blame them for it.