An alleged shoplifting incident out of Phoenix that led to a chilling video of police brutality that went viral has drawn the ire of city officials. In the end, despite insistence that their response was justified, police did not file shoplifting charges.
Police Threaten to Kill Shoplifter in Phoenix
On May 27, 2019, police responded to an alleged shoplifting incident at a Family Dollar store in Phoenix. While there, the clerk told them that there had been another suspected shoplifting incident – he thought that a young girl had taken a doll from the store – and police stormed out.
They caught up with the shoplifting suspects in the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex.
What happened next escalated so quickly that several people in the complex found it necessary to record it on their cell phones.
Those videos, which quickly went viral on the internet, show police officers, with guns drawn, yelling and swearing at a young black family with children aged 1 and 4. The police officers repeatedly threatened to shoot the suspects if they do not comply with police commands; all while making exceptionally forceful arrests.
Backlash, Police Excuses, and No Shoplifting Charges
The viral video quickly produced a backlash from nearly all corners, from Black Lives Matter activists to the Arizona mayor.
The police chief, however, issued what could only be called an excuse-laden apology. She said that “at the end of the day, there was more to this story” than just the viral video of her aggressive officers threatening to kill suspected shoplifters. According to her statements, the suspects had taken other items, in addition to the doll, refused to comply with police demands, and that the police thought they were armed.
The video, though, shows the suspects repeatedly trying to comply with vague and often contradicting police commands as police pointed guns at them well past the time it became apparent that they were unarmed.
The officers were later assigned to desk duty, pending an internal investigation.
None of the suspects in the case were charged with shoplifting.
Lawsuit in the Process of Being Filed Against the City for Police Brutality
The newest development in the situation has been a notice of claim filed by the alleged shoplifters against the city of Phoenix.
Notice of claims are precursors to civil lawsuits against public entities and municipalities in Arizona.
In their notice, the shoplifting suspects claim that they were the victims of a host of police misconduct, including:
- Assault and battery
- Wrongful arrest
- Unlawful imprisonment
- Infliction of emotional distress
Their lawsuit aims to hold the city and the officers accountable for their egregious conduct.
Shoplifting Defense at WTB Law in Maine
The criminal defense lawyers at WTB Law in Portland, Maine, legally represent those who have been accused of shoplifting in southern Maine, including Biddeford and Saco. While few shoplifting allegations come with such high levels of police brutality, they can all be life-altering events that can saddle your criminal background with a blemish that proves difficult to overcome.
Call WTB Law at (207) 571-8146 or contact them online to defend against the charge.