(TMU) — While viral videos depicting U.S. police meting out unjustifiably excessive force have become increasingly common over the years, new footage from Phoenix, Arizona has once again lowered the bar on what we expect from law enforcement officers and their vicious treatment of unarmed and primarily black citizens.
In a terrifying video that has now gone viral, Phoenix police officers are seen pulling their guns on a pregnant black woman and her young family while shouting hysterically at them, threatening to murder the parents in front of their young daughters over the alleged “shoplifting” of a Barbie-style doll from a 99-cent store.
The Phoenix Police Department has announced on Facebook that they have now opened an investigation into the two officers to determine whether the “allegations of misconduct”—misconduct which is vividly apparent —are justified.
The department, which is already embroiled in a scandal over highly bigoted and racist social media posts made by several officers, has released a 12-minute video of the incident while other video shot by bystanders is going viral.
In footage from May 29, 22-year-old Dravon Ames and his pregnant fiancée Iesha Harper, 24—along with their two young daughters, 4-year-old Island and 1-year-old London—are seen being held at gunpoint by several Phoenix police officers who scream orders at them while cursing and threatening to shoot.
Police were apparently responding to an anonymous caller who notified police about the possible shoplifting of a doll from the local dollar store. According to court documents, the store itself never called the police.
Without any apparent provocation or resistance on the part of Ames and Harper, who were sitting in their vehicle, police can be heard screaming rabidly:
“I’m gonna put a f****** cap in your f****** head. Put your f****** hands up!”
“You’re gonna f****** get shot!”
As the couple attempted to comply and get out of the car, Ames is immediately attacked by an officer who begins punching him repeatedly while kicking him in the legs before he is handcuffed and his face is slammed against the car.
Harper, who is visibly pregnant, was then violently dragged from the vehicle and commanded to put her hands up while she was holding her 1-year-old daughter. The officer then demands that she put the baby down on the hot pavement before snatching her daughter from her arms and handcuffing Harper forcefully.
The Phoenix Police Department is investigating after an officer was caught on cell phone video sweeping a man's leg after handcuffing him, while another officer pointed a gun at a pregnant mother and her two daughters.Repost @abcnews••Join Our Facebook & Instagram Family @Pushing_Black••#DrSebi #NickCannon #NipseyHussle #Tupac #ColinKaepernick #IMWITHKAP #MartinLutherKingJr #PushingBlack #ProBlack #ProBlackIsntAntiWhite #unapologeticallyblack #unapologeticallyme #blackempowerment #Blackexcellence #blackculture #blackart #blackartist #photography #portrait #killeverygram #livecreatively #blackfashion #blackfashionblogger #melaningoddess #melaninmagic #blackisbeautiful
Posted by Pushing Black on Friday, June 14, 2019
Neither of the parents were arrested following the encounter, nor were they charged with anything. The couple was promptly released after being handcuffed while outraged onlookers captured video of the incident from various angles.
Later on, it was revealed that the couple’s 4-year-old daughter had indeed mistakenly picked up the cheap doll from the store without the parents knowing.
Harper later said that one officer told her he could have “shot you in front of your f****** kids” as she was being detained.
At a press conference on Thursday, Harper recounted how she feared for her life. She said:
“He just seemed like he was trigger happy, he wanted to shoot someone that day.
He was ready to kill someone, he was bloodthirsty.”
Phoenix police management has refused to name their officer who was captured on video attacking Ames or the officer who told Harper that he could have shot her. A police spokesman told ABC15 that the officer who attacked Ames has been placed on a “non-enforcement assignment” while the one who threatened to murder Harper remains on active duty.
"My hands are up! My hands are up!" 22yo Dravon Ames says as a Phoenix police officer yells to "get your f****** hands up." The same officer later says "You're gonna f****** get shot!"
Ames says the officers stopped him after his child walked out of a Dollar Store with a doll. pic.twitter.com/Nlkd7IXsyc
— Meg O'Connor (@megoconnor13) June 12, 2019
The couple has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the City of Phoenix and has retained Attorney General Tom Horne.
Their lawsuit explains how the children suffered psychological and physical trauma due to the officers’ actions:
“The first officer pulled the baby by the arm to get her away from the mother, which injured the arm, in a condition known as ‘dead arm.’ Island [the couple’s 1-year-old child] has been having nightmares and wetting her bed, which she has not done before this incident.”
Echoing the outrage of his constituents, state Senator Martín Quezada tweeted his anger over the excessive force deployed by the Phoenix cops:
“This is everything that’s wrong with #LawEnforcement today. My #LD29 #Maryvale community deserves better than this type of inexcusable and unjustifiable rage and abuse of power from the @phoenixpolice. @PHXDistrict5 @PhxDistrict8,”
This is everything that's wrong with #LawEnforcement today. My #LD29 #Maryvale community deserves better than this type of inexcusable and unjustifiable rage and abuse of power from the @phoenixpolice. @PHXDistrict5 @PhxDistrict8 https://t.co/VXj0myV1Qo
— Sen. Martín Quezada (@SenQuezada29) June 13, 2019
Speaking to Heavy, local Reverend Jarrett Maupin said that the PPD’s claim that an investigation is necessary to ascertain whether excessive force was used is “stunning in its audacity.” Maupin explained:
“Clearly, excessive force was used. Clearly, policies and procedure were not followed. Clearly, body cameras were not being utilized. Clearly, the officers felt empowered to be disrespectful and abusive. What we demand to know is, what kind of background these officers have? They held toddlers and a pregnant woman at gun point, grabbed a mother and infant by the neck, dislocated a 1 year old’s arm, endangered a delicate pregnancy, terrorized and tortured a young father, and nobody was charged or jailed. These officers must be held accountable. We want justice.”
The clergyman added that 10 witnesses to the scene have come forward to assist the family and their attorney as they attempt to force accountability from the violence-prone Phoenix PD. He continued:
“We have an unprecedented number of citizens coming forward to share footage and give eye-witness accounts. So many residents were shocked to see police being so abusive with a pregnant mother and kids. So many people were concerned that the father was going to end up dead because of police brutality and the violence of officers.”
#RT @shaunking: RT @Blackmediagrp: Update!
No Charges Were Filed And The Family Is Suing #Phoenix PD
"Someone Might End Up Dead Next Time, It Might Be A Police Office Cause I Don't Know Many Black Man Who Would Let Them Put Their Hand On Their Pregnant… https://t.co/YSDxT65Y88
— Dick and Sharon (@DickandSharon) June 14, 2019
Last year, Phoenix ranked as the number one city in the United States in terms of officer-committed shootings, with 44 occurring in 2018—over double the number of police shootings in 2017. In comparison, the country’s largest police department, the New York PD, had 17 officer-committed shootings last year.
The department’s management, headed by Police Chief Jeri Williams—who herself is black—has also been engulfed in controversy after a report last week revealed thousands of racist, anti-Muslim, homophobic and bigoted posts by Phoenix police officers.
Since then, Chief Williams—who arrived in Phoenix after departing her scandal-plagued tenure as the chief of police in Oxnard, California—was forced to place dozens of officers on “non-enforcement assignments” after what she called the “embarrassing and disturbing” revelation.
In a statement, Williams said:
“They completely contradict how the Phoenix Police Department should speak about the members of our community or others.”
The social media posts show Phoenix officers gleefully bragging about their use of excessive violence and brutality against citizens.
In one post, an officer said:
“It’s a good day for a choke hold.”
Video Showing UFOs Swarming Navy Warship is Real, Pentagon Confirms
Late last month, reports emerged that a number of U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers sailing off the coast near Los Angeles encountered a swarm of strange unidentified flying objects or drones in 2019. While Navy investigators looked into the strange incident, no explanation has since been given.
However, new footage has been leaked to documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell that shows the strange flying objects swarming above one of the ships, and the Pentagon has confirmed that the videos are authentic.
“I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel,” a Department of Defense spokesperson told Futurism.
In the brief footage, which appears to have been recorded with night vision cameras, triangular or pyramid-shaped objects can be seen hovering above the deck of a Navy destroyer.
According to Corbell, the Pentagon has gone to great lengths to disavow any connection to the swarming UAVs.
“This was taken on deployment from the USS Russell,” Corbell told Mystery Wire. “It shows what they described as vehicles. And they made a great distinction. They made sure in this classified briefing, they made a great distinction that this is not something that we own either a black project, this is not something of a foreign military, that these were behaving in ways that we did not expect.“
“And that they were you know shaped non aerodynamically,” he added. “Like pyramids, these are flying pyramids!”
The video, as well as a number of photos from the incident, have all been gathered by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, a group tasked with investigating encounters between the different service branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and a number of unidentified flying objects.
While officials have been baffled by the unknown flying objects, in recent years the Pentagon has been more vocal about past encounters, which they describe as having been frequent. Officials have also discouraged the use of the acronym “UFOs,” instead opting to describe them as unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs.
Prince Philip Joke About Reincarnating as Deadly Virus to ‘Solve Overpopulation’ Resurfaces
The Friday announcement of the death of Prince Philip elicited a range of reactions on social media, with some users eulogizing the late royal while others used the occasion to heap mockery upon the British monarchy.
However, others also shared an old quote from the Prince Philip where he bizarrely suggested that after he died, his wish would be that he is reincarnated as a deadly virus in order to help solve the so-called problem of overpopulation.
The decidedly anti-social quote was taken from a 2009 article published by The Guardian that listed out a number of controversial and generally distasteful quotes from the Queen’s husband on various subjects.
The full quote read: “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation.”
Tweeting a screenshot of the quote, user Riya said: “WHAT THE F*CK.”
While others replied to the misanthropic quote with a reference to the ongoing pandemic:
The Daily Express notes that the quote originates from a joking comment about deadly viruses that the prince made in a 1988 interview with Deutsche Press-Agentur. The quote was also widely shared during the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Buckingham Palace announced the death of Prince Philip, royal consort to Queen Elizabeth II, on Friday morning.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the announcement read. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
As Marine Life Flees the Equator, Global Mass Extinction is Imminent: Scientists
The waters surrounding the equator are one of the most biodiverse areas in the globe, with the tropical area rich in marine life including rare sea turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, and other creatures.
However, rampant rises in temperate have led to a mass exodus of marine species from the sensitive region – with grave implications for life on earth.
While ecologists have long seen the thriving biodiversity of equatorial species holding constant in the past few centuries, a new study by Australian researchers published in The Conversation has found that warming global temperatures are now hitting the equator hard, potentially leading to an unprecedented mass extinction event.
The researchers from the Universities of Auckland, Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast found that as waters surrounding the equator continue to heat up, the ecosystem is being disrupted and forcing species to flee toward the cooler water of the South and North Pole.
The massive changes in marine ecosystems that this entails will have a grave impact not only on ocean life – essentially becoming invasive species in their new homes – but also on the human livelihoods that depend on it.
“When the same thing happened 252 million years ago, 90 percent of all marine species died,” the researchers wrote.
To see where marine life is headed, the researchers tracked the distribution of about 49,000 different species to see what their trajectory was. The global distribution of ocean life typically resembles a bell curve, with far fewer species near the poles and more near the equator.
However, the vast alteration of the curve is already in motion as creatures flee to the poles, according to a study they published in the journal PNAS.
These changes augur major disruptions to global ecosystem as marine life scrambles in a chaotic fight for food, space, and resources – with a mass die-off and extinction of creatures likely resulting.
The research underscores the dire need for human societies to control rampant climate change before the biodiversity and ecological health of the planet is pushed past the point of no return.
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