A philanthropic arm of Jay-Z's entertainment company Roc Nation has offered to provide legal support for a Phoenix couple that accused police of using excessive force and threatening to shoot them in an incident caught on video.
Dravon Ames, 22, and his pregnant fiancée, 24-year-old Aisha Harper, were pulled over by Phoenix police near 36th and Roosevelt streets on May 29. They allege police pointed a gun at their children, threatened them and physically harmed Ames and their daughter because the child took a doll from a dollar store.
The couple is demanding $10 million from the city of Phoenix. A notice of claim filed Thursday says the police officers committed battery, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest and infliction of emotional distress in addition to violating their civil rights.
Team ROC has reached out to the family to provide legal support, call for termination of the police officers and "ensure the well-being of the children," said Didier Morais, a PR spokesperson for the organization.
Team ROC has secured high-profile attorney Alex Spiro to join the family's legal team pro-bono and plans on filing against one of the officers for child neglect, Morais said.
In a statement, Roc Nation Managing Director of Philanthropy Dania Diaz said the incident was "absolutely sickening."
"There is no place for that behavior in our world – let alone our justice system – and we are calling for the immediate termination of the police officers in question," Diaz said. "We are committed to supporting the family to ensure that justice is served.”
The organization has gotten involved with several other controversies, including the arrest of a black man that stemmed from him wearing a hoodie inside a Memphis mall and an 11-year-old who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. It also fought against the deportation of rapper 21 Savage last year, Morais said.
Phoenix police countered the couple's accusations by releasing the 16-page incident report Friday, which stated in part that the couple stole other items from the store and were combative with police.
Officers at one point thought Ames was reaching for a weapon, the report said.
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams commented on the incident in a two-minute video posted to the department's Facebook page Friday. She said she was "disturbed by the language and actions of our officer."
I assure you this incident is not representative of the majority of Phoenix police officers that serve this city," Williams said.
The incident is currently being reviewed by the Phoenix Police Department's Professional Standards Bureau.