A Phoenix police officer was told he would be terminated Tuesday after a high-profile incident in May where he arrested the parents of a 4-year-old daughter that took a doll from a store.
Officer Chris Meyer, who is on administrative leave, will be terminated after an investigation by the department's Disciplinary Review Board, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams announced Tuesday. Though the review board recommended a 6-week suspension without pay, Williams said ultimately the disciplinary decision was hers.
"In this case, a 240-hour suspension is just not sufficient to reverse the adverse effects of his actions on our department," the police chief said.
Meyer pulled his gun on the family and also kicked one of the parents during the arrest, Williams said. The police chief has to serve disciplinary notices and Meyer has the right to appeal the decision.
Another officer who was involved in the case was issued a written reprimand. Williams noted that the officer used inappropriate language during the arrest, but did attempt to deescalate the situation.
Dravon Ames and his fiancee, Iesha Harper, had just left a dollar store in May with their daughters, ages 1 and 4, and were in their car when they realized the older girl had taken a doll. The couple drove the girls to their babysitter at an apartment complex nearby, where they were stopped and confronted by police in the parking lot.
In a video recorded by a bystander, the officer appeared to push a handcuffed man, believed to be Ames, against the side of a car and kicking his legs.
"When I tell you to do something, you f------ do it!" an officer could be heard screaming at the handcuffed Ames.
Harper said at the time that she was in the backseat with her children and tried to explain to officers that she couldn't immediately get out of the car as they demanded she exit.
“We're yelling out, ‘The door doesn’t open that side. It doesn't open.’ Obviously I don’t have a gun with two kids in my hands," Harper said at a news conference in June.
The couple filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city claiming the officers committed battery, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest and other civil rights violations.
One of the officers told Harper, "I could have shot you in front of your f------ kids," according to the claim filed by the family's lawyer, Thomas Horne, a former attorney general for the state.
Surveillance footage showed the 4-year-old girl took the doll out of the Family Dollar store location without it being paid for, but her parents told police they didn't realize she had taken the toy. The store declined to press charges as the items were recovered.