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Family involved in viral video call police and mayor apologies 'sham,' plan protests

After a weekend of apologies, the couple says protests are planned and they are not accepting apologies

PHOENIX — After a weekend of apologies for police actions from both Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Phoenix police Chief Jeri Williams, the couple behind a claim of excessive use of force called the words a "sham" and half-hearted. 

Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper filed a $10 million notice of claim after a gun was drawn and strong language was used after a shoplifting call from a local Family Dollar store. The family says the apologies by city officials are like a "slap in the face" as the officers involved in the stop are still employed. 

The family, alongside Rev. Jarret Maupin and their attorneys, announced a series of protests this week. 

Maupin said they would protest the scheduled town hall on Tuesday, the city council on Wednesday, and a demonstration is scheduled for later in the week.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams joined Team 12's Brahm Resnik on "Sunday Square Off" for a live interview discussing an incident that has put the department in the national spotlight. 

RELATED: 'It's unacceptable': Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams addresses video creating national backlash

Last week, videos surfaced of officers allegedly threatening to shoot a couple in front of their young children over a reported shoplifting incident from last month.

After the videos emerged and the couple involved, Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper, filed a $10 million notice of claim—a precursor to a lawsuit—against the city. 

WATCH: This video syncs the perspectives of two citizen-shot videos of the confrontation May 27 between Phoenix police and Dravon Ames and fiancee Iesha Harper outside a Phoenix apartment complex. The first voice heard shouting at the couple is that of Officer Christopher Meyer, a 24-year veteran. The officer who enters about 40 seconds later hasn't been identified by Phoenix police. A spokesman told 12 News the officer has been on the force about one year. WARNING: Some viewers might find the language in these videos offensive.

On Sunday morning's "Sunday Square Off," Chief Williams said, "What we saw in that video isn't in keeping with good policing, it's unacceptable. I apologized to the family for the interaction and to be honest with you, I'm apologizing to the community too because that is not what should have happened in that circumstance."

Williams said there is more to the story, discussing conflicting information in the police reports and the statements from the family.

PREVIOUSLY: Police release report on shoplifting incident as family seeks $10M from Phoenix for alleged excessive force

Williams said the behavior displayed by officers in the video is "unacceptable" but said everyone is entitled to due process, which is why the department is making the investigation into this incident a top priority. 

"Having been a cop for 30 years, you kind of sit back and say, 'What was going on,'" Williams said. "That's what we need to address."

Once she saw the video, Williams said she immediately took the officers involved off patrol and reassigned them to a desk where they don't have interaction with people in the community while the investigation is ongoing.

12 News learned there are two main officers under investigation from the video. One seen in the video is a 20+ year police veteran. The other has been on the force for about a year. 

"I am with everyone in the community who is angry, who is outraged. I have officers out there who are angry and outraged to see this is what brush we are being painted with when I know we that we're better than that, I know this department is better than that, I know our community is better than that but at the end of the day I have to take responsibility and be accountable," Williams said.

Williams said the officers involved were not wearing body worn cameras because the department has not rolled out cameras to that precinct yet.

Williams said that due to the public attention on the incident, she plans to have this investigation completed in a much shorter time frame than normal.

"I'm aware that people don't want to wait," Williams said. "It's going to shorten [the process] by months."

After the comments made by Williams over the weekend, the family held another press conference in response on Monday. 

"We've been aware of an apology from the mayor and the chief, and honestly, it really hasn't done anything to help us because it feels like it's a half apology," Ames said. 

Ames said he and his family are disappointed in the fact that the officers are still working. Williams said the officers were taken off patrol and assigned to desks.

"The officers are still working it just basically a slap in the face, it's like putting some lemon juice on an open wound," Ames said. "It's hurting us even more that they're still working and nothing's being done to the officers, nothing's being done for us as far as seeing any justice."

The incident in late May stemmed from a reported shoplifting incident at a Family Dollar store in the area of 32nd Street and McDowell Road. Employees had reported the incident after the couple's 4-year-old daughter Island allegedly stole a doll.

On Monday, police released three clips of redacted surveillance video from the store, "which shows the activities of the individuals, while they were inside the store, which led to employees contacting the police."

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