The Phoenix police
Phoenix Police (image via flickr)

What was supposed to be a simple case of shoplifting of a doll, picked up by a 4-years old from a Family Dollar store, was made a high-profile robbery case by the Phoenix Police. Perhaps this is the Phoenix Police’s way of making America great again.

The shoplifting case drew the concern of the city Police department that traced the African-American family, threatening and yelling at them. However, there is a growing concern by the citizens over the ‘quickness’ and readiness of the police in using force, even on trivial matters. Trivial matters like a-few-dollars’ worth doll that could have been picked up by a child without the parents’ knowledge.

The gravity of the situation could be gauged by the police act that they abused and physically injured the 22-year old father over the issue, even though he was cooperating with them. Undoubtedly, this is a question mark over the city’s security system, that, instead of giving a sense of protection, it is infusing chaos, fear, and insecurity among citizens.

The police act in this regard has been tagged a tip of the iceberg, questioning the overall performance of the city’s security system. In the previous year alone, the city had witnessed 44 shootings, “far more than any other city of its size,” according to the New York Times.

The treatment given to an expectant mom with a six-months-old pregnancy by the police was a blow to human dignity. What about the shame, suffering, mental torture, and harassment that many citizens face in the hands of security officials? Not to mention the of looking down the barrel whose holder had failed to introduce himself as a law-enforcing agent.

The police report portrays the parents, Davon Ames and Iesha Harper, “as being slow to comply, yelling at officers, and probably reaching for the weapons.” However, the couple denies these claims, saying that the police had resort to unnecessary violence.

But beyond all these claims and counterclaims, a few questions remain unanswered: “What crime justifies a policeman pulling a one-year-old child out of a mother’s hands?” Was the “police action” entirely about the doll picked by a 4-years old? Does this have some connection with racism? Whatever it is, this is an indication of a lack of moral training in the department. For their treatment of a co-operating family, and particularly that of a pregnant mother suggests that the Phoenix Police needs more courses on humanity, compassion, and morality.

Above all, how the incidents would be haunting the family, giving them sleepless nights since the event, is a matter that can hardly be compensated by the 10 million dollars from the city, that the couple has filed as a notice of claim which serves as a precursor to a lawsuit.

Phoenix Mayor, Kate Gallego’s apology to the family in a statement came last weekend and has been rejected by the family. Perhaps, for the family, it is too little or too late, or both!

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