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Phoenix City Council approves settlement with Dravon Ames, Iesha Harper

The Phoenix City Council approved payment of $475,000 for Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper.

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council voted on several settlements on Wednesday, including one that is nearly half a million dollars for the family of Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper. 

The $475,000 settlement, which was approved by a vote of 6 - 2, comes about a year after video of the violent encounter between Ames, Harper, their small children and Phoenix police went viral and sparked protests. 

During a May 2019 traffic stop, an officer was seen on camera sweeping Ames' leg out from under him while he was handcuffed and while the officer had a gun to his head. 

Harper, who was pregnant at the time, was also held at gunpoint with her two young daughters. 

Ames and Harper were detained but were not arrested. 

The confrontation happened after one of their children, according to police, stole a doll from a dollar store. 

After the stop:

The video caught national headlines and sparked protests during the summer. City Council and community meetings were interrupted at times by chants and boos as emotions came to a boil.

Context is important. The protests in 2019 came on the heels of a record breaking year for the number of officer involved shootings in the city and county.

Many protestors pushed for more accountability for police.

What has changed since then:

Officer Christopher Meyer, one of the officers who was involved in the incident, was fired after the incident sparked national outrage. 

Meyer is seen in the video sweeping Ames' leg while the man was handcuffed and yelled, "If I tell you to do something, you (expletive) do it."

Chief Jeri Williams fired officer Meyer, despite recommendations that Meyer be suspended for six weeks.

"I made my decision that the trust was eroded and that the brand called the phoenix police department was eroded because of that incident," Williams said at the time.

The officers involved in the Ames-Harper traffic stop were not wearing body cameras during the traffic stop.  

At the time, the Phoenix Police Department had 618 body cameras for more than 2,800 officers. After the video, the Phoenix City Council approved the purchase of 2,000 body cameras, which were deployed in the following months.

In February, the Phoenix City Council narrowly approved a citizen review board to give citizen oversight to police.

What’s next:

The city will now pay out $475,000 to the Ames-Harper family. In an initial notice of claim, the family was seeking $10 million.

The Phoenix City Council voted on six separate settlements during its Wednesday meeting. They cost a total of nearly $2 million.