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Docs: Man at center of Phoenix police encounter faces prior assault charges

Dravon Ames was charged last month with two felony counts for assaulting two police officers after a crash in October of 2018, court documents say.

PHOENIX - The man at the center of the now-viral encounter between Phoenix police officers and a family last month has a legal history involving Tempe police officers, 12 News has learned. 

Dravon Ames was charged last month with two felony counts for assaulting two police officers, according to court documents. 

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The charges stem from Ames' arrest around 6 a.m. on Oct. 31 of 2018 in downtown Tempe.

Police said he was behaving erratically after his vehicle was involved in a collision. Court documents say Ames was twisting and flailing his arms at the officers and say he tried to kick one officer in his groin and took several swings at the other officer. 

One officer, according to court documents, says Ames tried to grab his gun. Ames was tased twice by police and arrested.

According to court documents, Ames told officers he had smoked marijuana. Ames was booked, cited and released for DUI. 

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We spoke to a criminal defense attorney, Robert J. McWhirter, who has no connection to the case, about what Ames' prior charges could mean for this case. 

McWhirter says it's possible the officer involved, Christopher Meyer, could have been informed of the charge against Ames on his way to the scene.

"The officer may have known that or he may not have," McWhirter said. "And you can maybe give the officer a little bit of extra slack if this person has an assault charge."

But McWhirter says that is not enough to support the officer's conduct.

"That, however, doesn't really justify pointing guns at pregnant women or ripping children from women's arms who are sitting next to him," McWhirter said.

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Attorney Sandra Slaton, representing Ames and his fiancee Iesha Harper in their $10 million claim against the City of Phoenix, is also Ames' new attorney on the aggravated assault case.

"Our client pled not guilty," Slaton said in a statement. "He asserts his innocence. That (court case) was last year. That has absolutely nothing to do with this case."

Ames has a hearing in the assault case scheduled for July. 

We still have not heard from Officer Christopher Meyer, a 24-year veteran on the force, or the officer on the force for 11 years also seen in the video backing him up during the confrontation.

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