Tempe, AZ — Police in Arizona are seemingly always in the news for brutality and criminal behavior. Just last month, we reported on an Arizona cop who was caught on video shooting his AR-15 into a crowd of teenagers, killing a 17-year-old boy. Just two weeks before that, TFTP reported on Trooper Tremaine Jackson, who was arrested for allegedly kidnapping and raping over a dozen women while on duty. Now, only weeks after raping and killing by Arizona cops, another video has surfaced showing cops taser a man in his own home while he held his baby.
The incident happened on June 15 as police responded to a report that the 31-year-old father, Ivaughn Oakry, had allegedly pushed the mother of his children while intoxicated. According to court documents, however, these charges were not substantiated and later dropped. The incident appeared to be a fight between Oakry and MeKayla Brand, who called police.
The incident prior to the tasering was recorded on a non-emergency police line as Brand called police to tell them Oakry allegedly “put his hands” on her. According to the Phoenix New Times, Oakry can be heard in the background shouting at Brand to leave the home on the call recording.
“Get off me” a woman’s voice says in the 911 recording released by the law firm representing Oakry.
“Get your f**king ass out!” a man’s voice yells.
As he yells for her to “get the f**k out,” kids can be heard crying and screaming in the background. The caller tells the man she’s getting her shoes, and to leave her alone, and he again screams at her to get out. She later tells the dispatcher the man she’s fighting with is Oakry, the children’s father. She says she’s outside the home, but her three children are inside, the Times reports.
After the call, police never got a warrant and when they showed up at Oakry’s home, there was no investigation.
As the video shows, instead of investigating the incident, police showed up and immediately escalated the situation. Remember, he had only been accused of pushing a woman who had no injuries and who would later even tell police nothing happened.
Officer Ronald Kerzaya’s body camera records the entire home invasion and subsequent attack.
“Okay, what’s happening?” Kerzava says as Oakry opens the door.
“Nothing,” responds Oakry.
“Well that’s not what I’m being told,” Kerzava says before entering Oakry’s home with no warrant.
“Bro, you’re not allowed in here,” Oakry says as three officers storm into his home.
Remember, up until this point, police were simply investigating weather or not a crime had been committed.
As the video shows, Oakry’s children are screaming in fear because of the three armed strangers in their home pointing weapons at their dad. As Oakry asks the cops what’s going on, he has multiple red lasers lighting up his body from the officers’ tasers.
Less than a minute after the officers entered Oakry’s home, Oakry’s one-year-old son walks up to his father and asks to be picked up. Oakry picks him up and all hell breaks loose.
“Look, you’re going to get tased,” Kerzava says to the father holding his baby — instead of simply talking to the man to find out what happened.
Close to 4 minutes after the video begins, Brand, the woman who initially called police, walks in and tells the police that Oakry “didn’t do anything.”
“You hear her? Get the f**k out of my house. Get the f**k out of my house,” Oakry says.
At this point, police should have de-escalated and ended the confrontation. But they did not.
“That’s not how this works,” Kerzaya responds.
Once more, Brand tells the officers again, “nothing happened.”
Oakry pulls out his phone and starts recording the incident as officers back him into a corner.
“Do it. Do it. Do it,” an officer says.
Then, all three cops simultaneously deploy their tasers at the innocent father holding a baby. Oakry screams out in pain and then falls to the floor with his baby in his arms.
As Kerzava orders the father to get on his stomach, he deploys his taser again, for good measure.
“Ow! Ow! Ow!” he screams in pain.
Oakry was arrested, thrown in jail and charged with misdemeanor assault for for the alleged push and child endangerment for picking up his baby before he was tased. Two months later, after prosecutors examined the evidence and Brand refused to aid in the prosecution, telling police “nothing happened,” all the charges were dropped.
According to the Times, Heather Hamel of the People’s Law Firm, the lawyer representing Oakry, alleged to New Times that Tempe police did not have a right to enter Oakry’s home that day, a point disputed by police. She said they did not have a warrant or permission.
“The Fourth Amendment prohibits the police from entering a home without a search warrant or consent unless there are exigent circumstances,” Hamel wrote in a statement. “Tempe PD cannot argue such circumstances exist here because the woman who initiated a call was outside of the home when the police arrived.”
Because Brand was outside the home when police arrived, there were no exigent circumstances of harm happening to anyone. Instead of simply having a conversation to investigate whether or not a crime had been committed, police immediately escalated a situation that needlessly led to a father being tasered and endangered the life of his baby.