PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department has been under a national spotlight in recent days after videos surfaced of officers allegedly threatening to shoot a black couple and their young children over a reported shoplifting incident from last month.
The head of the department, Police Chief Jeri Williams, will join 12 News' "Sunday Square Off" live at 8 a.m. Sunday to discuss the incident with host Brahm Resnik.
Williams spoke out about the incident for the first time on Friday after the videos made the rounds online and the couple involved, Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper, filed a $10 million notice of claim -- a precursor to a lawsuit -- against the city.
In a video on the department's Facebook page, Williams said she was "disturbed by the language and the actions" of the officer in the video and launched an internal investigation after she was made aware of the clip.
"For those of you who have made public comments and have contacted me personally about the video, I get it," Williams said in the recording.
"Your concerns are also my concerns."
Williams has not said whether any of the officers involved have been disciplined.
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.
According a police report released Friday, an officer who was investigating an unrelated shoplifting incident in the area at the time followed Ames' car to a nearby apartment complex.
The report contends that Ames fled from the Family Dollar store after an officer told them to stop, but the couple claims that they were stopped by police while taking their daughters to a babysitter at the apartment complex.
Once the car was parked, the officer told the family to put their hands up but Ames allegedly started to yell at police that he did not do anything wrong and started reaching toward the center of the vehicle between the front seats.
According to the report, the officer drew his gun and continued to loudly give commands. Ames put his hands up above the steering wheel, but Harper, who was in the back of the car with her daughters, said said, "I have my child in here, I am not putting my hands up."
Multiple bystanders caught videos of the incident, in which an officer could be seen pointing a gun at a visibly pregnant Harper and the young girls, and one officer swept the legs of Ames as he was in handcuffs and pressed against the side of a police car.
WARNING: This video contains language that may be offensive to some viewers.
Williams assigned an undisclosed number of unidentified police officers to desk jobs earlier this month while they were being investigated for possible misconduct.
The misconduct investigation came after the Plain View Project, a database of public Facebook posts and comments made by current and former police officers, found posts packed with racist comments and imagery, endorsements of violence, and pro-Trump and anti-Obama memes.
The database identified 178 questionable Facebook posts over the last nine years, from 75 active-duty Phoenix cops. Ten of the officers, including a sergeant, produced 50% of those questionable posts.
Phoenix police Officer Timothy Baiardi was charged with assault last month after surveillance video surfaced of him allegedly hitting a handcuffed shoplifting suspect in December.
"Sunday Square Off" with Jeri Williams will run from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Sunday and will be followed by "Today in AZ."