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Subject of viral Phoenix traffic stop suing police over another stop

In 2019, Dravon Ames made headlines for a police stop that was caught on camera and quickly went viral. Now he is suing Tempe police over a 2018 stop.

PHOENIX — Dravon Ames is suing the city of Tempe in federal court for battery and violation of his civil rights during a 2018 traffic stop. 

The stop occurred months before Ames made headlines in Arizona because of a 2019 incident that went viral. 

In that stop, a Phoenix police officer was seen pulling a gun on Ames' pregnant girlfriend and child in the backseat, while Ames was screamed at and had his leg swept by another officer. 

The video sparked protests throughout the Valley and helped lead to change. 

One of the officers involved, Christopher Meyer, was fired. After the stop, Phoenix police equipped most of its officers with body cameras after public outcry. The city of Phoenix settled with the Ames-Harper family for $475,000.

Now Ames has filed a lawsuit against Tempe after a stop in October 2018.

The initial call was for a two-vehicle accident. Ames was one of the drivers and admitted to using a highly concentrated form of marijuana earlier in the night. The Tempe police report says Ames appeared to have bloodshot eyes and seemed to show signs of impairment.

The report also says Ames resisted arrest by attempting to kick and punch the officers as they took him to ground. The officers deployed a stun gun to subdue Ames and eventually put him in handcuffs. 

Ames is charged criminally with assaulting both officers.

"I felt like that was my last moments, I felt like I was taking my last breaths.” Ames said about the 2018 stop. 

“What we believe the facts are going to show is this was far in excess of anything that needed to be done,” Robert McWhirter, one of Ames' attorneys said. 

McWhirter and Sandra Slaton are representing Ames in the civil and criminal lawsuits. Both attorneys said officers were not justified punching and tasering Ames numerous times. 

The lawyers said the body worn camera footage does not support the officer's versions of events. 

"The video clearly shows the officer was the one who initiated the physical contact, when it probably was not necessary," McWhirter said. "The video shows that our client was in no capacity to do anything."

12 News reached out to the city of Tempe for a response, but it does not comment on pending litigation. 

You can see the body camera footage here.

There is no amount specified in the federal lawsuit. Ames' criminal trial is set to begin in March.