Authorities in Phoenix, Arizona, are investigating after video provided by a bystander showed alleged misconduct by two department officers as they responded to a shoplifting incident last month.
On Tuesday, Phoenix Police released a 12-minute clip of the harrowing encounter after announcing the launch of their investigation.
“Phoenix Police Department takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and for this reason, this incident is currently being investigated by the Professional Standards Bureau,” police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said in a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page.
Authorities said the incident involved a young couple whom they suspected of shoplifting and their two young children. The suspects were stopped in their vehicle in a parking lot not far from the location of the alleged theft, police stated.
According to FOX 10, the confrontation was reportedly sparked over a toy doll that was mistakenly taken from a nearby Family Dollar Store.
“It was crazy, very scary, over a dollar store,” victim Aesha Harper told the station. “I would have bought that doll had I knew.”
The video, which the department obtained on Tuesday, begins with Harper’s boyfriend, Dravon Ames, lying face-down on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. An officer then yanks him off the ground before slamming him against a police cruiser.
Seconds later, the cop sweep-kicks the man’s leg out from under him, causing him to stumble.
“When I tell you to do something, you f—–g do it!” the officer screams.
“I am! I’m sorry!” Ames, 22, responds.
“You’re not complying with me!” the officer continues shouting. “When I tell you to do something, you f—–g do it.”
Meanwhile a second officer is seen approaching the suspect’s car with his gun drawn, after which Harper and her two young daughter’s emerge. The witness recording states that Harper, who exited the car with a toddler on her hip and holding another little girl by the hand, is pregnant.
The officer briefly pulls her to the side, where they talk for a few moments before the cop tries detaining her. Harper is heard crying and trying to get away as the officer reaches for her kids.
Another woman, who appears to be a bystander, offers to keep the couple’s children as officers handcuff their mother. At this point, the two young girls can be heard crying, too.
“It’s OK, it’s OK,” a woman behind the camera says, consoling them.
Video of the incident sparked a flurry of reactions online, most of them angry.
“This is absolutely disgusting,” one Facebook user wrote. “HE (the officer) is absolutely disgusting. There’s no reason to attack an unarmed woman holding a baby. Ever. There is no reason to kick a man who is complying.
Phoenix PD, do not drop the ball on this. He needs to be fired.”
“Clearly the officer involved is unstable and a danger to the public,” a fellow user agreed. “The way that he terrorizes this family is appalling. Hold him accountable.”
Recalling the incident, Ames said the officer seemed like he was “trigger happy.”
“He wanted to shoot someone that day,” he said.
Speaking to Phoenix station KNXV, Ames said one the cops came to the car and started banging on the window with his gun, saying “he’s going to shoot us in our face. He hasn’t alerted us that we’re being pulled over anything.”
The officer who swept Ames’ leg is “on a non-enforcement assignment,” while the officer who pulled his gun remains on normal patrol, the station reported.
Ames and Harper say they’re now considering legal action against the city. Both were handcuffed and detained, but no charges have been filed.
Watch more in the video below.