A routine shoplifting trip to a Family Dollar store went horribly wrong for one Phoenix family when police pulled them over and pointed guns in their faces.
The incident happened on May 27, when Dravon Ames, 22, and Iesha Harper took their two daughters with them to the Family Dollar store.
After the family left the store, the workers called the cops, saying they believed the family stole items from the store.
Cell phone video shows the cops pointing guns at the family and ordering them out of their car. The video went viral, and social media activists went nuts.
On Tuesday, the Phoenix Police Department released surveillance video footage that shows the family shoplifting a variety of items from the Family Dollar store prior to their confrontation with officers.
Surveillance footage shows their four-year-old daughter with a doll in her hands. The couple said they had no knowledge of the stolen doll. But the footage shows the little girl showing the doll to a woman who was with her. The video is very grainy, but you can't miss the doll - it is in a big package in the little girl's hands.
After the woman walked out, the girl is seen waiting for her parents before she walks out of the store with doll in hand. Apparently, neither adult asked the other if the doll was paid for.
It probably didn't matter either way. Another video clip shows the girl's father, identified as Ames, stealing a package of underwear from the store. Ames steals the package and appears to open it to check the contents while squatting down in an aisle.
The workers waited until the family exited the store to call the cops.
Police followed the family to their apartment complex and drew down on them, thinking they were armed.
Harrowing cell phone video shows Phoenix cops barking orders at the family to get out of their car. When the family didn't move quickly enough, one cop threatened to shoot.
The optics were terrible: white cops threatening to shoot a pregnant Black woman holding a baby didn't go over well on Black Twitter.
The excuses from Black Twitter began even before the video footage was released. Even when they learned the family had shoplifted items from the store.
"The doll was only $1."
"I don't care if the doll was $5,000."
"The cops pointed a gun at a pregnant woman."
As far as Twitter activists are concerned, any act of aggression by white officers towards Black people for any reason isn't justified.
Ames and Harper, who is six months pregnant, were not arrested or charged with shoplifting.
The 16-page police report accuses Harper of stealing the underwear, and another woman who was with them of stealing items from the Dollar store.
The story made international headlines after rap mogul Jay-Z offered to pay the legal fees for the young couple.
On Monday, Ames and Harper spoke with the media. Ames choked back tears as he argued with reporters who asked if he had stolen the underwear.
"They put a gun in my daughter's face, and you're asking me about drawers?" he said.
He couldn't believe the reporters had the audacity to question his alleged criminal intent.
"My family has been through enough. You see in the video the fear. The sounds of my daughters crying, and you're asking me about some drawers? That's insensitive, that's insulting," he said.
He rejected an apology from Police Chief Jeri Williams, who is Black.
"It feels like a half apology. The officers are still working. It's a slap in the face. It's like putting lemon juice on an open wound," he said. "Everyone knows they are not fit to be policing."
Harper told reporters she thought the cops would shoot her in the face in front of her minor children.
Their lawyers hesitated when asked if the couple had shoplifted. They said even if the couple were petty criminals, that doesn't justify the acts of aggression demonstrated by the white cops.
After all, thefts of merchandise worth less than $600 isn't even prosecuted one state over in Texas.
The Rev. Jarrett Maupin said nothing justifies the police action seen in the video.
"Even if they stole every damn roll of tin foil, even if they stole 10 packs of underwear and a partridge and a pear tree, it does not justify what we saw on that tape."
"These are unarmed individuals. It's wrong to do this to anybody and that is the point," one of the family's representatives added.
Harper said her four-year-old is now afraid of all cops. "It was terrifying for me and my children. They've never been through anything like that."
The officers have been placed on desk duty while an internal investigation into the incident continues.